Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Fernandez, E.
The social pathologies of contemporary cvilisation
No smoke without fire: public health and morality in the civilizing process.
University College Cork
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
This paper highlights the centrality that notions of ‘civility’ played in the context of policy formation and implementation of the smoking ban in Ireland. Drawing on the work of Mitchell Foucault (1979, 1988), Norbert Elias (1978, 1982) and Mary Douglas (1966, 1970), it challenges scientific, medical and evolutionary explanations of the increasing emphasis on smoking restrictions which are commonly found in public health discourses. It identifies two processes that were deployed simultaneously in the context of the smoking ban. First, a collective process, which sought to civilize the collective Irish public body, and purify as well as order Irish public spaces. Second, a targeted civilizing process was deployed. While the smoking ban was presented as a universal measure, in fact, specific sections of society were targeted as part of this process. The analysis demonstrates the relevance of the interplay between concerns with health and social decorum. To conclude, this paper will discuss how these findings lend support to the relevance of undertaking context specific social research, as well as demonstrate further, that discursive constructions around health behaviour and the body have a symbolic role in identifying and maintaining boundaries between different social groups.