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Sociology of Health & Illness

Josefine Antoniades, Danielle Mazza, Bianca Brijnath
The nexus between social networks and illness behaviours is important in uptake of health care, however scant research has explored this relationship in South Asian migrants living with mental illness. We explored the interplay between culture, social networks and health seeking in Sri Lankan migrants and Anglo-Australians living with depression. Forty-eight in-depth interviews were conducted and data were analysed through the theoretical prism of the network episode model. Results showed that social networks were important in negotiating care...
July 11, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Paula Saukko
This article argues that commercial digital health platforms and devices commodify participatory features of the digital creating a new medical cosmology. Drawing on sociology on medical cosmologies, research on digital media and marketing and an analysis of the 23andMe online genetic testing platform, I identify three features of this cosmology. First, digital health seeks to foment 'flow' or enjoyable, continuous immersion in health. Second, digital health configures its consumers as 'co-creators' of health data and knowledge together with companies and other consumers...
July 11, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Marius Wamsiedel
Most studies on gatekeeping at the emergency department (ED) have emphasised the assessment of clients in terms of perceived legitimacy and deservingness, showing that lay considerations lead to exclusionary practices, and the ED contributes to the social reproduction of inequality. Some recent works have challenged this representation, providing compelling evidence of staff's concern for the access to care of the most vulnerable users. I extend this perspective by presenting the criterion of reasonableness of the visit to the ED that nurses in Romania commonly use during the triage admission interview...
July 10, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Jenelle M Clarke, Justin Waring
Mental health settings are fraught with emotion as clients address difficult life experiences and relational patterns. Clients spend a substantial amount of time together outside of structured therapy, but little is known about how these moments are potentially therapeutic, especially as sites of emotional change. We draw on interaction ritual chain theory to explore how negative emotions in situations outside of formal therapy can be transformed into positive emotions and facilitate personal change. The research is based upon a narrative ethnography of two therapeutic communities for individuals with a diagnosis of personality disorder...
June 29, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Thomas E Shriver, Aysha Bodenhamer
Over the past twenty years there has been a deadly resurgence of coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP), commonly known as black lung disease. While increased prevalence of the disease is alarming, these data only capture cases where CWP has been officially recognised. We argue that many more cases of the disease are going unreported. Drawing from contested environmental illness literature, we examine issues surrounding diagnostic uncertainty and medical surveillance. We draw from qualitative data on black lung that includes in-depth interviews, observation and document analysis...
June 28, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Helen Cramer, Jacki Hughes, Rachel Johnson, Maggie Evans, Christi Deaton, Adam Timmis, Harry Hemingway, Gene Feder, Katie Featherstone
This ethnography within ten English and Welsh hospitals explores the significance of boundary work and the impacts of this work on the quality of care experienced by heart attack patients who have suspected non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) /non-ST elevation acute coronary syndrome. Beginning with the initial identification and prioritisation of patients, boundary work informed negotiations over responsibility for patients, their transfer and admission to different wards, and their access to specific domains in order to receive diagnostic tests and treatment...
June 28, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Larissa Pfaller, Solveig L Hansen, Frank Adloff, Silke Schicktanz
In Germany, as well as in other countries, organ shortages are usually explained by a relative unwillingness to donate among a population which is assumed to be caused by a lack of information and mistrust of the system. As we can see in the data of our qualitative research (focus groups and interviews), lack of information or mistrust are not the only reasons for people to be reluctant to agree to the donation of their organs after death. In fact we can identify four positions: (1) information deficit; (2) mistrust; (3) no killing; and (4) bodily integrity...
June 28, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Paul Bissell, Marian Peacock, Michelle Holdsworth, Katie Powell, John Wilcox, Angie Clonan
This study explores the ways in which social networks might shape accounts about food practices. Drawing on insights from the work of Christakis and Fowler () whose claims about the linkages between obesity and social networks have been the subject of vigorous debate in the sociological literature, we present qualitative data from a study of women's' accounts of social networks and food practices, conducted in Nottingham, England. We tentatively suggest that whilst social networks in their broadest sense, might shape what was perceived to be normal and acceptable in relation to food practices (and provide everyday discursive resources which normalise practice), the relationship between the two is more complex than the linear relationship proposed by Christakis and Fowler...
June 19, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Benedetta Cappellini, Vicki Harman, Elizabeth Parsons
This study investigates how mothers respond to school surveillance of their children's packed lunches. In a context where increasing attention is focused on healthy eating, we adopt a biopedagogical approach to illustrate different positions and strategies which mothers occupy in relation to feeding their children in the school setting. We use photo-elicitation interviews and focus groups to trace both the discursive and practical significance of these biopedagogies. We find that the subjective experiences of feeding children at school are infused with classed notions of mothering in public...
June 19, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Gregory Hollin, Alison Pilnick
Many characteristics typical of autism, a neurodevelopmental condition characterised by socio-communicative impairments, are most evident during social interaction. Accordingly, procedures such as the Autism Diagnosis Observation Schedule (ADOS) are interactive and intended to elicit interactional impairments: a diagnosis of autism is given if interactional difficulties are attributed as a persistent quality of the individual undergoing diagnosis. This task is difficult, first, because behaviours can be interpreted in various ways and, second, because conversation breakdown may indicate a disengagement with, or resistance to, a line of conversation...
May 23, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Melissa Stepney, Susan Kirkpatrick, Louise Locock, Suman Prinjha, Sara Ryan
The sense of freedom and independence that being able to drive generates may be taken for granted by many until it is threatened by illness. Drawing on the 'mobility turn' in social sciences that emphasises the social and emotional significance of the car (Sheller and Urry , ), this article presents secondary analysis of narratives of driving and its significance across four neurological conditions (epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, transient ischaemic attack and motor neurone disease). Taking an interactionist approach we explore how the withdrawal of a driving licence can represent not just a practical and emotional loss of independence, but also loss of enjoyment; of a sense and feeling of 'normal' adulthood and social participation; and of an identity (in some cases gendered) of strength and power...
May 22, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Laia Ferrer Serret, Montserrat Solsona Pairó
Induced abortion is one option to control fertility in Spain. Young adult women (25-34 years old) show a different abortion pattern compared to women in other age groups, being less likely to seek abortions than younger women and having one of the lowest proportions of unintended pregnancies. We aimed to analyse the factors involved in the pregnancy decision-making process to better understand why young adult women seek abortions in Catalonia, Spain. In-depth semi-structured interviews with 25 nulliparous pregnant young adult women and one focus group discussion with healthcare providers were conducted in 2008/2010...
May 21, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Emily Heavey
Illness and recovery transform embodied experience, and transform the experience of space. Space, in turn, is a valuable resource in the telling of an illness narrative. Starting from a phenomenological perspective that takes the body to be the centre of experience, and hence of selfhood and storytelling, this article offers an argument for and an approach to analysing space as a narrative resource in stories about illness and recovery. Using a case study of one woman's stories about her amputation, it demonstrates how both narrated space and narrating space can be used as devices to structure the narrative and position its characters and interlocutors to construct the narrator's embodied experiences and identities...
May 17, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Priscila de Morais Sato, Mariana Dimitrov Ulian, Ramiro Fernandez Unsain, Fernanda Baeza Scagliusi
We investigated the eating practices of socially vulnerable overweight and obese Brazilian mothers, exploring the relationships between eating practices, capitals, fields and excess-weight. We conducted a qualitative study involving in-depth interviews of 21 women living in three vulnerable urban regions. Content analyses were performed and codes were used to locate actors in relation to each other in terms of 'capitals' and 'fields', forming a typology based on Bourdieu's theory with five groups. Socioeconomic conditions during childhood and liking to cook were the main characteristics related to each group's distinct eating practices...
May 16, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Brian Salter, Charlotte Salter
In recent years ageing has travelled from the placid backwaters of politics into the mainstream of economic, social and cultural debate. What are the forces that have politicised ageing, creating a sustained opposition to the supply side hegemony of pharmaceuticals, medicine and state which has historically constructed, propagated and legitimised the understanding of ageing as decline in social worth? In addressing this question, the paper develops Gramsci's theory of hegemony to include the potentially disruptive demand side power of consumers and markets...
May 8, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Hedvig Gröndal
Evidence-based treatment guidelines for managing infections in health care are promoted as tools to prevent unnecessary use of antibiotics. Antibiotic misuse has been examined as regards the doctor-patient relation and the social context of medical practice. Less attention has been paid to how the very conceptualisation of human-microbial relations may influence understandings of antibiotic misuse. The article examines a medical controversy concerning guidelines for managing throat infection and antibiotic treatment in Sweden...
April 29, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Sarah Nettleton, Christina Buse, Daryl Martin
This article draws on ethnographic data from a UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded study called 'Buildings in the Making'. The project aims to open up the black box of architectural work to explore what happens between the commissioning of architectural projects through to the construction of buildings, and seeks to understand how ideas about care for later life are operationalised into designs. Drawing on recent scholarship on 'materialities of care' and 'practising architectures', which emphasise the salience of material objects for understanding the politics and practices of care, we focus here on 'beds'...
April 27, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Klaus Wegleitner, Patrick Schuchter, Sonja Prieth
In accordance with the pluralisation of life plans in late modernity, the societal organisation of care at the end of life is diverse. Although the public discourse in western societies is dominated by questions about optimising specialised palliative care services, public health approaches, which take into account the social determinants and inequalities in end-of-life care, have gained in importance over the last decade. Conceptual aspects, dimensions of impact and benefit for the dying and their communities are well discussed in the public health end-of-life care research literature...
April 27, 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Tobias Haeusermann
This article reports an ethnographic study of the handover routines in Germany's first dementia village, with a central focus on how care is balanced between domestic intimacy and institutional detachment. The term 'professionalised intimacy' is used for the vivid interplay between comfort and intimacy that renders the interaction between care workers and residents far more complex than previous theories have articulated. Because of the intimacy involved in community building, however, the promise of personalised care must clash with the bureaucratic structures of an official institution, potentially depriving the care workers of their public, respected identity in the process...
June 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
Wytske Versteeg, Hedwig Te Molder
Drawing on a corpus of radio phone-ins, we present a discursive psychological analysis of how mothers carefully tailor their knowledge claims regarding their children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Mothers typically claim knowledge about their children's good intentions, but not about the 'ADHD-ness' of their conduct. Whereas the former is seen as appropriate knowledge for a concerned parent, the latter is treated as a matter of expert knowledge. We show that as soon as problematic behaviour is treated as observable from the outside and describable by mothers and other lay persons, it becomes vulnerable to being formulated as 'normal disobedience', rather than symptomatic of a professionally administered, doctorable condition...
May 2018: Sociology of Health & Illness
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