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

Upcoming Event: Social and Ethical Aspects of Health and Medicine Seminar Series

Further information.

SEAHM Journal Club

Do you research the social and ethical aspects of health and medicine? Would you like to discuss and explore ideas relating to your research with other researchers?

Lisa Wood, Dawn Goodwin and Laura Machin wish to invite other researchers of the social and ethical aspects of health and medicine to come and join a journal club. The journal club is a cross-faculty initiative, takes place fortnightly on campus, and is open to all researchers.

Please contact Laura Machin at for dates of upcoming journal club meetings.


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

  • 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'