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'Risking enchantment' : how are we to view the smoking person?

Macnaughton, Jane and Carro-Ripalda, Susana and Russell, Andrew (2012) ''Risking enchantment' : how are we to view the smoking person?', Critical public health., 22 (4). pp. 455-469.

Abstract

The idea of the smoking person portrayed in public health has been criticised as being based on too narrow a view of human nature. This article discusses that view: that of a person with a stable core and epiphenomenal ‘behaviours’ that can be removed by rational persuasion or Pavlovian manipulation, and examines social scientific critiques of it. The social sciences explore the meanings smoking has for individuals and portray human identity as malleable, the result of ongoing interactions with human and non-human others. Aspects of smokers’ experience revealed in qualitative research – descriptions of cigarettes as ‘companions’ or ‘friends’, deep reliance, sensual pleasure – are sometimes difficult to articulate but can be given full voice in the context of the literary arts. We explore some examples of these sources and argue that a complete picture of smoking meanings is impossible without reference to them. We take a pragmatic approach, following the philosopher William James, who argued that emotional and spiritual experiences contribute to the truth of human existence as much as material explanations, to suggest that this understanding should be part of a critical but supportive engagement with public health research in order to develop more nuanced and humane approaches to smoking cessation.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Smoking, Medical humanities, Humanities, Public health, Human nature.
Full text:PDF - Accepted Version (259Kb)
Full text:PDF - Published Version (346Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09581596.2012.706260
Publisher statement:This is an Open Access article. Non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly attributed, cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way, is permitted. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted. Permission is granted subject to the terms of the License under which the work was published. Please check the License conditions for the work which you wish to reuse. Full and appropriate attribution must be given. This permission does not cover any third party copyrighted material which may appear in the work requested.
Record Created:17 Oct 2012 12:35
Last Modified:01 Jun 2016 09:53

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