The Shame and Medicine Project and the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health are thrilled to welcome to the University of Exeter, Professor Imogen Tyler, Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University, to give an online seminar.
‘Destigmatising Welfare’ on Thursday 22nd June at 15.00 BST.
Imogen Tyler is a Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. Imogen’s research focuses on social inequalities of poverty, class, race, gender, disability and citizenship, and draws on both current and historical research to examine how people protest and resist injustice.
Britain is in a poverty crisis. Recent data reveals that one in five people are currently living in poverty in Britain. Of these, one in ten, approximately 6.5 million people, are living in ‘very deep poverty’, which means regularly struggling to afford basic necessities such as clothing, food, rent and heating (JRF, 2022).
In 2023, upwards of 40% of children were reported as growing up in poverty in some Northern English towns and cities, a situation described as ‘a child poverty epidemic’(Northern Health Science Alliance, 2023). During the winter of 2022-23, a period of escalating inflation widely described as “the cost-of-living crisis”, millions more found themselves pulled into poverty and destitution.
It is well-evidenced that the stigma of living in poverty can be as debilitating as the material struggles involved in living on a very low income. Indeed, concealed behind the poverty statistics are millions of stories of hardship, struggle and shame, yet the experiences of those living in poverty continue to be drowned out by stigmatizing narratives which seek to shift the blame and/or deny the realities of this crisis.
This talk, chaired by Professor Luna Dolezal, will trace the recent history of poverty stigma in Britain. Drawing on ongoing work with the Poverty Truth movement and Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Professor Tyler will argue that tackling poverty in Britain will require a wholesale destigmatisation of welfare, both in terms of the design of social provisions, health and other public services, but also more fundamentally, in terms of transforming the public “welfare imaginary”. This paper considers what this reimagining might involve.