Social and Ethical Aspects of Health and Medicine

Our research explores the social and ethical aspects of health and medicine. Our research is interdisciplinary in nature, theoretically underpinned, with a view to informing policy and practice.

The research focuses on:

Our research studies are influenced by theoretical perspectives such as:

  • Mobility studies
  • Science and technology studies and feminist technoscience
  • Ethnomethodology
  • Organisational studies
  • Medical sociology, anthropology and ethics

Methodologically, we specialise in ethnography, documentary analysis, focus groups, and interviews on sensitive subjects with hidden populations.

Topics we have supervised on include:

  • Practitioner decision making
  • Patient safety
  • Professional boundaries within healthcare work
  • Constructions of evidence and expertise
  • Knowing in palliative medicine
  • Fertility preservation
  • Deconstructing concepts of 'ethical' research
  • Medical oath-taking
  • Self discharge against medical advice

We invite proposals for postgraduate study in the broad areas of:

  • Medical sociology, anthropology, and ethics
  • Science, technology and medicine
  • Masculinities and health
  • Organisational aspects of healthcare work


Researchers working in this area, together with a short description of their research interests, are listed below.

  • Professor Maggie Mort (joint appointment with Sociology): Technological change; telemedicine and telecare; innovation in health science and technology; health policy and politics, disaster and recovery studies
  • Dr Dawn Goodwin: Ethnographic studies of clinical practice including the intersection of anatomical, technological and embodied knowledge; the role of the home environment in supporting people with dementia; and the construction of patient safety in general practice
  • Dr Laura Machin: Assisted conception, the donation of organs, blood and tissue, and people discharging themselves against medical advice
  • Dr Lisa Wood: Accountability, responsibility and autonomy in practice, in particular technologically mediated practices and how practitioners generate knowledge, more recently looking at practices 'on the move'