Dr Stuart McClean

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About me

​​​Stuart McClean ​is a social anthropologist working as a Public Health academic. He leads the 'Health and Wellbeing' research theme for the Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing​. His publications include Folk Healing and Health Care Practices in Britain and Ireland: stethoscopes, wands and crystals (Berghahn, 2010), Thinking About the Lifecourse: a psychosocial introduction (Palgrave, 2014), and Research Methods for Public Health (Sage, 2019). He is also Pathway Lead (Health and Wellbeing) for the ESRC South West Doctoral Training Partnership, and has wide experience of supporting post-graduate research. Stuart is the author of over thirty peer-reviewed publications - including books, journal papers and reports - on health & wellbeing, self and society. He is an expert on qualitative research methods and contributes to the MSc Public Health Programme at UWE.

Area of expertise

My research interests are the wider health and wellbeing culture and the ways this manifests in varied wellbeing practices, forms of agency, innovation and creativity in Western societies. `What does it mean for the individual to be well and do well? How do individuals and communities work at 'doing well' and 'being well'? I am interested in the interconnected nature of these experiences, and in explaining the current socio-cultural forces and trends that underpin it.

My work has three main components:

The first concerns non-traditional approaches to health and wellbeing in the West, in the form of alternative and complementary health practices. This work explores ideas about the socio-cultural relations of healing and wellbeing, as well as alternative wellbeing approaches which invoke ideas about agency, innovation and individualism amongst practitioners and users. It also concerns the nature of victim blaming and stigma, personal responsibility and ideologies of health and wellbeing. The second strand considers the ways that communities address health and wellbeing grand challenges, such as healthy ageing, in ways that mirror non-traditional approaches, using often innovative and 'upstream' public health approaches to enable wellbeing progression and agency in more disadvantaged communities. Finally, I focus on the ways in which marginalised and disadvantaged social groups (e.g. migrants) have been denied agency and access to wellbeing in societies, and consider the social consequences of this in areas such as health care access and structural inequalities.​


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