The phenomenon and implications of stigma have been recognized across many contexts and in relation to many discrete issues or conditions. The notion of spatial stigma has been developed within stigma literature, although the importance and relevance of spatial stigma for rural places and rural people have been largely neglected. This is the case
even within fields of inquiry like public and rural health, which are expansively tasked with addressing the socio-structural drivers of health inequalities. In this paper, we argue that developing a better understanding of rural place stigma is critical for
addressing contemporary patterns of spatial injustice and health inequalities affecting rural communities globally. Drawing on international literature and examples from the reported experiences of rurally living Australians and news and other media, we present an analysis highlighting the power in rural place stigma. In doing so, we build a case for the relevance and importance of interrogating rural place stigma, especially in the fields of public and rural health, for changing the conditions within—and the broader positioning of—the rural in the public and political landscapes.
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