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Deaths of despair and the social geographies of health denial

DeVerteuil, Geoffrey ORCID: 2022. Deaths of despair and the social geographies of health denial. Geography Compass 16 (2) , e12607. 10.1111/gec3.12607
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The aim of this article is to articulate and translate the key points emerging from Case and Deaton's (2020) provocation on “deaths of despair” in the United States, to an audience concerned with the social geography of health and health denial. According to the authors, the recent waning life expectancy in the United States is mostly due to an unprecedented increase in deaths among middle-aged Whites in rural areas, due to suicide, alcohol and especially drug overdoses, set within the larger context of gradual societal breakdown. While largely implicit in the book, I explicitly connect this phenomenon to debates in social geography around the role of place, violence and inequality in the systemic production of health denial, bringing out embedded political, geographical and sociological arguments. Finally, I propose a research agenda that takes into account other versions of deaths of despair that share the same underlying patterns of health denial.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1749-8198
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 January 2022
Date of Acceptance: 15 December 2021
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2022 16:59

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