Social Theory & Health

https://link.springer.com/journal/41285

List of Papers (Total 51)

(Re) Making gender in the clinical context: a look at how ideologies shape the medical construction of gender dysphoria in Portugal

The act of diagnosing gender dysphoria (GD), as in the act of diagnosing any other condition, is structured by socio-cultural, political and economic factors and is conducted by social actors. Drawing upon in-depth interviews with practitioners who work with trans people in Portugal, the study reveals the nuances and complexities surrounding the diagnostic attribution of GD and...

Am I a researcher or a self-harmer? Mental health, objectivity and identity politics in history

The different models of self-harm in other eras can challenge the presumed universality of modern concepts, from psychiatric diagnoses to the very idea of objectivity in science and medicine. In this paper I argue that the history of psychiatry is not a neutral set of ideas by which we understand the past but an opportunity to reflect on, critique and improve modern mental...

Using personal experience in the academic medical humanities: a genealogy

The inclusion of personal experience in academic work, especially in the medical humanities, has increased markedly in the recent past. This article traces the roots of this development, arguing that it is not a simply off-shoot of ‘experts by experience’ in mental health, but has its own specific set of precursors and enabling conditions. Three of these are explored in detail...

Sociology, biology and mechanisms in urban mental health

This paper examines the way in which sociology and biology continue to struggle to understand why urban life creates high levels of mental disorder. The movement of the world population to be majority urban in recent years adds urgency to this issue. The paper addresses ways in which sociological analysis and biological analysis might work together through the identification of...

Different uses of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory in public mental health research: what is their value for guiding public mental health policy and practice?

Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory is appealing as a conceptual tool for guiding public mental health interventions. However, his theory underwent significant changes since its first inception during the late 1970s until his death in 2005, due to which the implications that can be drawn might differ depending on what concepts (i.e. early or later) of the theory is utilized. The...

Social medicine and sociology: the productiveness of antagonisms arising from maintaining disciplinary boundaries

This essay considers the boundaries between the sociology of medicine and social medicine and the reasons distinctions are maintained between the two disciplines. To investigate, the essay asks what constitutes the distinction between social sciences and social medicine, and goes on to question historical distinctions of how foundational sociology is to social medicine; how much...

Diagnosing dementia: Ethnography, interactional ethics and everyday moral reasoning

This article highlights the contribution of ethnography and qualitative sociology to the ethical challenges that frame the diagnosis of dementia. To illustrate this contribution, the paper draws on an ethnographic study of UK memory clinics carried out between 2012 and 2014. The ethnographic data, set alongside other studies and sociological theory, contest the promotion of a...

Institutions of care, moral proximity and demoralisation: The case of the emergency department

This article draws on concepts of morality and demoralisation to understand the problematic nature of relationships between staff and patients in public health services. The article uses data from a case study of a UK hospital Emergency Department to show how staff are tasked with the responsibility of treating and caring for patients, while at the same time their actions are...

Theorising participatory practice and alienation in health research: A materialist approach

Health inequalities research has shown a growing interest in participatory ways of working. However, the theoretical ideas underpinning mainstream approaches to participation remain underexplored. This article contributes to theorising participatory practice for the kind of egalitarian politics to which many of those focused on reducing health inequalities are committed. First...

Two decades of Neo-Marxist class analysis and health inequalities: A critical reconstruction

Most population health researchers conceptualize social class as a set of attributes and material conditions of life of individuals. The empiricist tradition of ‘class as an individual attribute’ equates class to an ‘observation’, precluding the investigation of unobservable social mechanisms. Another consequence of this view of social class is that it cannot be conceptualized...

Negotiating technology-mediated interaction in health care

The health-care sector is increasingly faced with different forms of technology that are introduced to mediate interaction, thus fully or partially replacing face-to-face meetings. In this article we address health personnel’s experiences with three such technologies, namely: electronic messages, video conferences and net-based discussion forums. Drawing on Goffman’s perspectives...

The aesthetic rationality of the popular expressive arts: Lifeworld communication among breast cancer survivors living with lymphedema

The use of popular expressive arts as antidotes to the pathologies of the parallel processes of lifeworld colonization and cultural impoverishment has been under-theorized. This article enters the void with a project in which breast cancer survivors used collages and installations of everyday objects to solicit their authentic expression of the psycho-social impacts of lymphedema...

Differentiation and displacement: Unpicking the relationship between accounts of illness and social structure

This article seeks to unpack the relationship between social structure and accounts of illness. Taking dentine hypersensitivity as an example, this article explores the perspective that accounts of illness are sense-making processes that draw on a readily available pool of meaning. This pool of meaning is composed of a series of distinctions that make available a range of...

Lifestyle as a choice of necessity: Young women, health and obesity

Sociologists of health have regularly called into question strictly knowledge-based health promotion approaches that focus on individual lifestyle change, claiming preference for collective actions on social determinants of health. These critiques have more recently been directed towards the issue of obesity. Although there is a growing body of work that shows the connection...

Pretenders and performers: Professional responses to the commodification of health care

How do professionals respond to the commodification of health care? Using an interactionist perspective, we answer this question by referring to the findings of five qualitative studies of hospital surgeons, mental health-care professionals, emergency and ambulance personnel, and youth workers in the Netherlands. We find that differential levels of professional autonomy...

The interactions of disability and impairment

Theoretical work on disability is going through an expansive period, built on the growing recognition of disability studies as a discipline and out of the political and analytical push to bring disability into a prominent position within accounts of the intersecting social categories that shape people's lives. A current debate within critical disability studies is whether that...

Beyond the therapeutic: A Habermasian view of self-help groups’ place in the public sphere

Self-help groups in the United Kingdom continue to grow in number and address virtually every conceivable health condition, but they remain the subject of very little theoretical analysis. The literature to date has predominantly focused on their therapeutic effects on individual members. And yet they are widely presumed to fulfil a broader civic role and to encourage democratic...

What is psychiatry? Co-producing complexity in mental health

What is psychiatry? Such a question is increasingly important to engage with in light of the development of new diagnostic frameworks that have wide-ranging and international clinical and societal implications. I suggest in this reflective essay that ‘psychiatry’ is not a singular entity that enjoins consistent forms of critique along familiar axes; rather, it is a heterogeneous...

Moral subjects, healthy adolescents: Analyzing the discourse of health education in Greek secondary education

In this article, our aim is to put forward a sociological analysis of the educational policy on health education in Greece. Drawing on the Foucauldian notion of self-techniques, this article highlights how moral subjects are formed within the Discourse of Health Education. Analyzing all the health education texts that the Ministry of Education addresses to pupils and teachers in...

The Barker hypothesis and obesity: Connections for transdisciplinarity and social justice

Obesity is the object of incredible amounts of resources and attention purportedly aimed at reducing corpulence and increasing health. Despite this, consensus with respect to the definition, causes or solutions is lacking, making obesity a prominent knowledge controversy. In this article, I argue that the Barker hypothesis, a theory of foetal development, can support the...