Is 'modern culture' bad for our health and well-being?

Hanlon, P. and Carlisle, S. (2009) Is 'modern culture' bad for our health and well-being? Global Health Promotion, 16(4), pp. 27-34. (doi: 10.1177/1757975909348113)

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Evidence is accumulating that well-being in high-income societies may be static or in decline. One influential theory argues that this is because ‘modern’ societies are influenced by values of materialism, individualism and consumerism. Does this intellectual critique resonate with ordinary people? This article reports on interviews with purposefully selected groups in Scotland, where the relevance of the cultural critique was explored. Participants in the study believed that cultural values such as individualized consumerism do exert a damaging influence on well-being. They suggested that such values are given particular power in the context of widespread social change and increasing inequalities. Nevertheless, they also believed that individuals and communities possess the capacity to resist such trends. This article concludes that efforts to achieve material improvement for disadvantaged people may not suffice in redressing deep-seated inequalities, if the contribution of some subtle but pernicious effects of contemporary culture remains neglected. However, the research does suggest that positive responses are also possible.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hanlon, Professor Philip and Carlisle, Dr Sandra
Authors: Hanlon, P., and Carlisle, S.
Subjects:R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Centre for Population and Health Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:Global Health Promotion
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN (Online):1756-3976
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2009 Sage Publications
First Published:First published in Global Health Promotion 16(4):27-34
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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