A medical student converses with a patient

Social and Ethical Aspects of Health and Medicine

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

Tab Content: Our research focuses

  • Cultures of healthcare work and patient safety
  • Issues of learning, knowledge and practice
  • Concepts of autonomy, responsibility and accountability
  • Use of technology in healthcare practice
  • Reproductive medicine
  • Donation of body parts, blood and tissue
  • Patients' rights

Tab Content: Research influences

  • 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.

Tab Content: Topics we have supervised

  • 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

Tab Content: Our proposal interests

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


  • 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'

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?

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

Please contact Laura Machin at l.machin@lancaster.ac.uk for dates of upcoming meetings.

Explore our other research groups