“The Political Economy of ‘Excess Mortality’ in Contemporary Glasgow and Scotland”

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


Invited paper at Oxford Brookes University, Department of Social Sciences, Global Politics, Economy and Society Seminar Series, 7th November 2016.

This presentation will report on work seeking to account for the phenomenon of ‘excess mortality’ (EM) in Scotland and in Glasgow (Collins and McCartney, 2011, Collins et al., 2014, McCartney et al., 2011, McCartney et al., 2012b, McCartney et al., 2012a, MacKenzie et al., 2016). The work, which has focused on political economy, has proved central to a recent and widely-endorsed ‘synthesis’ providing a new basis for explaining this health phenomenon (Walsh et al., 2016, Taulbut et al., 2016). The work has elaborated a ‘vulnerability’ perspective and applied it to the EM problematic: firstly highlighting Scotland's higher exposure to the health-compromising impacts of neoliberal policies after 1979 (Collins and McCartney, 2011); secondly, and drawing on new research in government archives, showing how the political economy of post-war Scotland operated to foster that exposure, ultimately diminishing the relative potential for health improvement, and rendering Glasgow particularly vulnerable (Collins and Levitt, 2016); and, thirdly exploring city-level responses to central government in the 1980s, leading to the view that Glasgow's orientation might well have compounded the city-level health problems. The presentation will highlight how Scottish policy makers in the 1960s sought to transform their nation, not just in terms of industry and economy, but also in terms of geography and socio-political culture, and how (and why) they remained committed to their plans, even as the evidence of adverse consequences – particularly for Glasgow – became clear.
Period7 Nov 2016
Held atOxford Brookes University, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionNational