Moralising geographies: stigma, smoking islands and responsible subjects

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As the long-term negative health effects of continued smoking have become more obvious, smoking cessation has become a key focus of government attention across the developed world. Smoking cessation programmes have had mixed outcomes, with rates of smoking in certain socio-economically disadvantaged and ethnic minority groups remaining high. The increasing stigmatisation of those who continue to smoke, coupled with the spatial segregation of poor and minority populations, may compound to produce ‘smoking islands’ that may serve to reinforce rather than discourage continued smoking. This paper examines practices of compliance and resistance by disadvantaged smokers and ex-smokers to strategies of biopower.

Keywords: New Zealand; biopower; care of the self; qualitative research; smoking; stigma

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand, Email:

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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