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Research Areas

Health, Science and technology studies, Social Science, Sociology

Dr Vicky Singleton

Dr Vicky Singleton

Senior Lecturer, Director of Womens Studies


Tel: +44 1524 592499


Centre for Gender and Women's Studies

Current research programme: Care in and for Policy

As part of this programme I am currently writing a single authored book on Situating Caring and I am co-editing a Sociological Review Monograph titled Care and Policy Practices.

The book explore s the following questions:

  • How do the practices of health care produce particular subjects and objects?
  • How does health care, in intimate everyday social-material practices, distribute rights and resources?
  • How might health care policy be enacted in ways that are care-full and appreciative of practices and contexts? 

The research programme aims to develop a network of researchers to explore concerns about policy as failing, marginalising ?good' practices and causing harm.  'Policy' can been seen as a historically, culturally and politically specific form of care. Yet, policies designed to protect, to nurture and to care for inadvertently harbour and promote relations of harm. Policies that ?work' within particular defined contexts can be seen to be dysfunctional within other contexts. Recent research on care as socio-technical and relational may prove productive in thinking through diverse policy-related domains. This research explores how policy could attend to those things often neglected, harmed or made invisible and how to sensitize policy to inevitable incommensurate knowledges and excesses.


Professional memberships

I am an elected member of the Council of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) and I am on the Development Group for the newly formed Association for Studies in Innovation, Science and Technology UK.



PhD Supervision Interests

I welcome research students and have supervised 15 students researching in a range of substantive areas including; Caesarean section and women's right to choose, Surgical construction and treatment of obesity, Schizophrenia and psychiatric care, Young women, sexuality and Christian traditions. I am interested in and have expertise in qualitative research including participant observation, interviews, and textual analysis in the form of detailed case studies. In particular I am interested in research that seeks to articulate and to appreciate the work of practice of programmes, policies, interventions, systems and guidelines.

Research Interests

Key Words

Materiality, practices, technoscience, feminist theory, health, medicine, care, farming, policy, gender constitution and enactment, standardization and generalisation, science and technology studies, (after) actor-network theory.


General Research Activities

I trained and worked as a Registered General Nurse before completing my degree and PhD and have had an enduring concern that my research speaks with, and to, professional practice, particularly about how policies and guidelines relate to emobodied, located practices. Theoretically, the research contributes to the field of Science, Technology and Society Studies and feminist technoscience studies through qualitative case studies in health and medicine and farming. I draw upon a diverse body of work that includes public understanding of science and technology, feminist technoscience studies, medical sociology, feminist theory and practice, cultural studies and Science and Technology Studies. I explore how programmes, knowledge-claims, policies and guidelines are constructed and developed and, in particular, how they work in practice. Recent research on the intersection of national policy and practices on small farms has emerged from an earlier project on rural community health and citizenship and it examines the intersection of national policy and practices on small farms in Cumbria and the North West UK. 

I have completed case studies in several locations, often about the experiences of publics and practioners of policy develoments. For example, I have studied:

  • Women's (non) participation in the UK Cervical Screening Programme.
  • The making of healthy citizens in the New Public Health: case study of a grass roots initiative to train members of a rural community in Cardio-pulmonary Resuscitation.
  • The complexity of clinical decision making around the management of acute Alcoholic Liver Disease: the experiences of patients and clinicians (with John Law).
  • The enactment of mothers, babies and policy in the national campaign to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
  • Women's choice and Casaerean Delivery by Maternal Request (with Dr. Carol Kingdon).


Funding and research collaborations

  • Six studentships, three as ESRC CASE awards, and three supported by direct NHS funding. (2001 to present)
  • Mixed method study of Women's choice and Caesarean Section, funded by the National Health Service (2000-6)
  • The Management and Treatment of Acute Alcoholic Liver Disease, supported by the National Health Service (2003-5)
  • Public health and training local citizens in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, in collaboration with a local charity (1999-2003)
  • Evaluation of sicknesss absence policy and practices, funded by HMRC Land Registry (1999). 


Current Teaching

Current Teaching and Administrative Duties

I direct and lecture on the undergraduate first year course, Gender and Women's Studies 101. I co-convene and teach 3 undergradute courses: 'Feminism and Social Change', 'Gender, Sexuality and Society' and 'Health, Life and Bodies'. I am also the Sociology Undergraduate Departmental Personal Tutor. I convene the MA module in Independent Study in Gender and Women's Studies. I have co-developed and teach an innovative intensive MA module and Summer School in Feminist Technoscience Studies and I co-teach the MA module The social life of science and technololgy: Theories and debates. I contribute a session on Feminist Epistemologies to a Faculty module for postgraduate students titled Philosophy of the Social Sciences. I currently supervise 5 postgraduate research students and I am working with a visiting post-doctoral researcher.


Teaching experience

Doctoral Workshops: I have taught at several international doctoral summer schools and teaching workshops including Science Studies Summer School, Prague, Czech Republic (March, 2005), Linköping University, Sweden, Medicine, Technologies and Practices (November, 2003), Health, Bodies and Medicine, Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo, Norway, (June 2002), Bodies, Medicine and Health, Centre for the Sociology of Innovation, L'Ecole des Mines, Paris, France (May 2001).

Undergraduate: I have developed and taught an array of undergraduate courses, including on study skills. I contributed to the University Effective Learning Programme for many years. 

Postgraduate TeachingMA For 6 years I convened and taught the core module for the Women's Studies MA programme Doing Feminist Research. I obtained ESRC and AHRC recognition for Women's Studies MA and MRes programmes. I co-developed the long standing MA in Science and Technology Studies and for 10 years I was responsible for the core module, Science, Technology and Society, and for an option module, Technologies in Health and Medicine.

Research Student Teaching: I am an experienced PhD supervisor having supervised 2 MPhil students and 15 PhD students to successful completion. I have also worked with 6 visiting research students in recent years.

Examining Duties: I have acted as External examiner for 1 MPhil Theses and 7 PhD theses and Internal examiner for 1 MPhil and 10 PhD theses. I have chaired numerous viva examinations.

Selected Publications

No publications found


ANT, multplicity and policy

Law, J. & Singleton, V. 2014 In: Critical Policy Studies. 8, 4, p. 379-396 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Modes of syncretism: notes on noncoherence

Law, J., Afdal, G., Asdal, K., Lin, W. & Singleton, V. 2014 In: Common Knowledge. 20, 1, p. 172-192 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


ANT and politics: working in and on the world

Singleton, V. & Law, J. 11/2013 In: Qualitative Sociology. n/a, n/a, p. n/a 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Devices as rituals: notes on enacting resistance

Singleton, V. & Law, J. 2013 In: Journal of Cultural Economy. 6, 3, p. 259-277 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


When contexts meet: feminism and accountability in UK cattle farming

Singleton, V. 07/2012 In: Science, Technology, and Human Values. 37, 4, p. 404-433 30 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Good farming: control or care?

Singleton, V. 2010 Care in practice: on tinkering in clinics, homes and farms. Mol, A., Moser, I. & Pols, J. (eds.). Bielefeld: Transcript, p. 235-256 22 p. (MatteRealities / VerKörperungen; vol. 8)

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter (peer-reviewed)


Choice and birth method: mixed-method study of caesarean delivery for maternal request

Singleton, V., Kingdon, C., Lavender, T., Gyte, G., Gabbay, M. & Neilson, J. 06/2009 In: BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 116, 7, p. 886-895 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

A Further Species of Trouble: Disaster

Singleton, V. & Law, J. 2009 From Mayhem to Meaning: The Cultural Meaning of the 2001 Outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in the UK.. Martin, D. & Brigitte, N. (eds.). Manchester: Manchester: Manchester University Press, p. 229-242 13 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter (peer-reviewed)


Training and resuscitating healthy citizens in the English new public health

Singleton, V. 2007 Technoscience: the politics of interventions. Asdal, K., Brenna, B. & Moser, I. (eds.). Oslo, Norway: Unipub, p. 221-246 26 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter (peer-reviewed)


Resuscitating Healthy Citizens: Normatives and Negativities.

Singleton, D. V. 2006 Feminism and Technoscience: A Reader. Oslo Academic Press, 221 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter


The promise of public health: Vulnerable policy and lazy citizens.

Singleton, D. V. 1/10/2005 In: Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 23, 5, p. 771-786 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Object Lessons.

Singleton, D. V. & Law, J. 1/05/2005 In: Organization. 12, 3, p. 331-355 25 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Who's choosing caesarean section?

Kingdon, C., Lavender, T., Gyte, G., Cattrel, R., Singleton, V. & Neilson, J. 06/2003 In: British Journal of Midwifery. 11, p. 391

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Allegory and its others.

Law, J. & Singleton, V. 2003 Knowing in organisations: a practice-based approach. Nicolini, D., Gherardi, S. & Yanow, D. (eds.). New York and London: M. E. Sharpe, Armonk, p. 225-254 30 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter


Performing Technology's Stories: On Social Constructivism, Performance, and Performativity.

Law, J. & Singleton, V. 10/2000 In: Technology and Culture. 41, 4, p. 765-775 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Revisioning women, health and healing: feminist, cultural and technoscience perspectives

Singleton, V. 10/2000 In: Public Understanding of Science. 9, 4, p. 466-467 2 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Sickness absence as risk-taking behaviour: a study of organisational and cultural factors in the public sector.

Grinyer, A. & Singleton, V. 2000 In: Health, Risk and Society. 2, 1, p. 7-21 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


The politic(ian)s of SSK: a reply to Radder

Singleton, V. 04/1998 In: Social Studies of Science. 28, 2, p. 332-338 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Stabilising instabilities: the role of the laboratory in the UK cervical screening programme

Singleton, V. 1998 Differences in medicine: unravelling practices, techniques and bodies. Berg, M. & Mol, A. (eds.). Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, p. 86-104 18 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter (peer-reviewed)


Feminism, sociology of scientific knowledge and postmodernism: politics, theory and me

Singleton, V. 05/1996 In: Social Studies of Science. 26, 2, p. 445-468 24 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Networking constructions of gender and constructing gender networks: considering definitions of women in the British Cervical Screening Programme

Singleton, V. 1995 The gender-technology relation: contemporary theory and research. Grint, K. & Gill, R. (eds.). London: Taylor and Francis, p. 146-173 28 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter (peer-reviewed)



Singleton, V. & Michael, M. 05/1993 In: Social Studies of Science. 23, 2, p. 227-264 38 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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