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Sociology of Health & Illness

Riikka Homanen
This article discusses practices of parental support in the maternity healthcare provided by the welfare state. Drawing on ethnographic material from clinics in Finland, I discuss maternity healthcare practices and processes as the specific contexts of subjectification to parenthood in the Nordic welfare state. The analysis shows that in both nurses' (work) experience-based knowledge and population-statistical knowledge, parental competence is achieved largely through the 'natural' process of experiencing pregnant life...
October 22, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Baptiste Brossard, Normand Carpentier
Contemporary research into health and mental health treats diagnosis as a central step in understanding illness management and trajectory; consequently, in the last two decades, sociology of diagnosis has attained increasing influence within medical sociology. Deeply embedded in social constructionism, the set of research divides between those who focus on the social and historical construction of diagnoses as categories, and those who see diagnosis as a process. Regarding the latter, this approach explores the constitution of the medical production, highlighting how it constitutes a starting point for entering a 'sick role', for being labelled, for naming one's problem and by extension, for framing one's illness narrative...
October 22, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Sheryl de Lacey
Perspectives on the status of human embryos and whether they should be discarded differ globally. Some countries protect embryos in law while in other countries embryos 'die' or 'succumb' in assisted reproductive technology clinics on a daily basis. This study analyses interview data drawn from a larger qualitative study conducted in South Australia from 2004-2007. 21 women and 12 of 21 partners were interviewed about the decision they made to discard their embryos. The analysis reported here sought to examine the ways in which women constructed and experienced the decision to discard embryos...
October 22, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Charles Antaki, Rebecca J Crompton, Chris Walton, W M L Finlay
Using video records of everyday life in a residential home, we report on what interactional practices are used by people with severe and profound intellectual disabilities to initiate encounters. There were very few initiations, and all presented difficulties to the interlocutor (support staff; the recording researcher); one (which we call 'blank recipiency') gave the interlocutor virtually no information at all on which to base a response. Only when the initiation was of a new phase in an interaction already under way (for example, the initiation of an alternative trajectory of a proposed physical move) was it likely to be successfully sustained...
October 20, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Marie L Campbell, Janet M Rankin
Institutional ethnography (IE) is used to examine transformations in a professional nurse's work associated with her engagement with a hospital's electronic health record (EHR) which is being updated to integrate professional caregiving and produce more efficient and effective health care. We review in the technical and scholarly literature the practices and promises of information technology and, especially of its applications in health care, finding useful the more critical and analytic perspectives. Among the latter, scholarship on the activities of economising is important to our inquiry into the actual activities that transform 'things' (in our case, nursing knowledge and action) into calculable information for objective and financially relevant decision-making...
October 10, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Barry John Gibson, Philip V Sussex, Ruth P Fitzgerald, William Murray Thomson
The aim of this article is to add to the literature on the sociology of oral health and dentistry by presenting the relevance of status passage to the study of complete tooth loss. The article reports on an analysis of data taken from participants residing in the Nelson region of New Zealand. In total the data include interviews from 20 participants, all of whom had their remaining natural teeth removed before 1960. In total, 12 women and eight men were interviewed. All were from a European background with an age range of 71 to 101 years...
October 10, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Chloe Shaw, Elizabeth Stokoe, Katie Gallagher, Narendra Aladangady, Neil Marlow
The article analyses the decision-making process between doctors and parents of babies in neonatal intensive care. In particular, it focuses on cases in which the decision concerns the redirection of care from full intensive care to palliative care at the end of life. Thirty one families were recruited from a neonatal intensive care unit in England and their formal interactions with the doctor recorded. The conversations were transcribed and analysed using conversation analysis. Analysis focused on sequences in which decisions about the redirection of care were initiated and progressed...
September 25, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Antero Olakivi
Public care work organisations in Northern Europe often seek to increase their economic efficiency in ways that care workers criticise for reducing both their professional autonomy and the quality of care. Recently, the ideal of 'enterprising nursing' has emerged as a political belief according to which economic efficiency, care workers' autonomy and the quality of care can be improved in tandem by cultivating care workers' agential abilities. This article examines the reception of this belief among migrant care workers in Finland...
September 9, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Dariusz Galasiński, Magi Sque
Studies about the psychosocial issues concerning organ donation and transplantation tend to focus on the experiences of donor or recipient families. Little is known about the part played by correspondence exchanged between these two groups; in particular how they perceive the agency of organ donation. This is the first analysis to address the representation of the act of donation from the viewpoint of both donor and recipient families through interrogation of archived correspondence data, using linguistic techniques...
September 6, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Mairead Eastin Moloney
The medicalisation of sleep is a rich and growing area of sociological interest. Previous research suggests that medicalisation is occurring within the context of physician office visits, but the inner workings remain unclear. This study is the first to provide perspectives on the office visit interaction from both sleepless patients (n = 27) and the physicians (n = 8) who treat them. Analyses of semi-structured qualitative interviews reveal that sleep-related conversations are typically patient-initiated in routine office visits...
September 4, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Eeva Sointu
This article develops sociological understanding of the reproduction of inequality in medicine. The material is drawn from a longitudinal study of student experiences of clinical learning that entailed 72 qualitative in-depth interviews with 27 medical students from five medical schools in the USA. To highlight the subtle, yet powerful, ways in which inequality gets entrenched, this article analyses ideas of the 'good' and the 'bad' patient. Bad patients question not only biomedical knowledge but also medical students' commitment to helping people...
August 31, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Diane Trusson, Alison Pilnick
This study explores women's perceptions of social interaction during and after their treatment for early stage breast cancer. An analysis of interviews with 24 women between 6 months and 29 years post-diagnosis reveals that interactions can be influenced by conflicting public discourses surrounding breast cancer. For example, there is the continuing association of cancer with death and the resulting potential for a stigmatised identity. In contrast is the ultra-positive discourse around cancer survivorship, with breast cancer in particular being associated with pink campaigning and a push towards positive thinking...
August 31, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Fan-Tzu Tseng
This study investigates the transformation of the regime of governing child developmental conditions in Taiwan. With the shift from a medicalised regime of disabilities to a riskised regime of developmental delays, early childhood development has become the primary focus of governance. Drawing upon a multi-sited ethnography to follow the process by which the ideas and practices of early intervention are imported and adapted to local conditions, I elucidate how and why the new subject, that is, children with developmental risks and their families, emerged with the concomitant re-configuration of governance...
August 31, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Dara Ivanova, Iris Wallenburg, Roland Bal
In this article we analyse the process of the multiple ways place and care shape each other and are co-produced and co-functioning. The resulting emerging assemblage of this co-constituent process we call a carescape. Focusing on a case study of a nursing home on a Dutch island, we use place as a theoretical construct for analysing how current changes in healthcare governance interact with mundane practices of care. In order to make the patterns of care in our case explicit, we use actor-network theory (ANT) sensibilities and especially the concept of assemblage...
August 31, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Filippo Oncini, Raffaele Guetto
Making use of Bourdieu's threefold conceptualisation of cultural capital, this paper examines and disentangles the association between social origins and children's food consumption. The aim of the work is twofold. Using data from the Multipurpose survey on daily life conducted by Istat (2009-2012), we first show that children's compliance with dietary advice is indeed influenced by their social origins, but more so in terms of familial cultural resources than economic ones. All types of cultural capital enhance the quality of children's nutrition...
August 30, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Georgie J MacArthur, Nina Jacob, Pandora Pound, Matthew Hickman, Rona Campbell
Drinking is viewed by young people as a predominantly social activity which provides an opportunity for entertainment and bonding with friends. Using Bourdieu's concepts of habitus, field and capital, this article explores young people's attitudes and beliefs around alcohol use, influences on behaviour, and the role of peers, with a view to informing the development of preventive interventions. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 28 young people aged 18-20 in the south west of England. We describe how friends were integral in drinking experiences, and drinking with friends was equated with fun and enjoyment...
August 30, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Alexandra H Vinson
Countervailing powers constrain the authority and autonomy of the medical profession. One countervailing power is patient consumerism, a movement with roots in health social movements. Patient empowerment discourses that emerge from health social movements suggest that active patienthood is a normative good, and that patients should inform themselves, claim their expertise, and participate in their care. Yet, little is known about how patient empowerment is understood by physicians. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in an American medical school, this article examines how physicians teach medical students to carry out patient encounters while adhering to American cultural expectations of a collaborative physician-patient relationship...
August 28, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Carrie Purcell, Sharon Cameron, Julia Lawton, Anna Glasier, Jeni Harden
'Body work' has emerged at the nexus of sociologies of work and bodies as a means of conceptualising work focusing on the bodies of others. This article utilises this analytical tool in the context of contemporary abortion work. Abortion provision in Britain has seen significant change in the last 25 years, paralleling developments in medical methods, and the option for women under nine weeks' gestation to complete the abortion at home. These shifts raise questions around how abortion work is experienced by those who do it...
August 28, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Sarah Rudrum, Helen Brown, John L Oliffe
The provision of gifts to new mothers in Uganda is laden with significance that varies by the social location of the giver and receiver and the context and conditions under which the gift is made available. Here, we examine the act of gift giving and receiving within a Ugandan maternity care setting, describing the connections between these material objects and social relations. A study investigating the social organisation of maternity care in post-conflict northern Uganda found that gift-giving to new mothers functioned to create a material and discursive context wherein women's desire to access these goods was leveraged to create an incentive to attend formal maternity care during pregnancy and for delivery...
August 23, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
Maria Vaalavuo
This article examines the association between healthcare use and receipt of social assistance. It focuses on asking to what extent the use of healthcare (seen as a proxy for health status) leads to social assistance. This is answered by describing the use of healthcare services among a cohort of Finnish social assistance clients before, during and after the first receipt of benefit by means of fixed-effects logistic regression. Using register data, the study follows a group of social assistance recipients from 2005 to 2011 and compares their use of healthcare to those not claiming social assistance during this same period and analyses how their use of health services develops over time...
August 23, 2016: Sociology of Health & Illness
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