Sociology of Diagnosis

Anne-Marie Jutel (2009) called for a sociology of diagnosis in her book Putting a Name to It: Diagnosis in Contemporary Society (2011). With Nettleton, she guest-edited a Special Issue of Social Science & Medicine titled ‘A Sociology of Diagnosis’ (Jutel and Nettleton, 2011). Although rooted in medical sociology, this subfield draws upon related fields of study including science and technology studies, medical anthropology, organisational sociology, health policy, economics, bio-ethics and political debates on new social movements, like the neurodiversity movement. We run a Sociology of Diagnosis reading group at the University of Exeter. Our readings and links to the papers are given below.

Week 1 Jutel A. Sociology of diagnosis: a preliminary review. Sociol Health Illn. 2009 Mar 1;31(2):278–99.

Week 2 Fuat A, Hungin APS, Murphy JJ. Barriers to accurate diagnosis and effective management of heart failure in primary care: qualitative study. BMJ. 2003 Jan 25;326(7382):196.

Week 3 Jutel A, Nettleton S. Towards a sociology of diagnosis: reflections and opportunities. Soc Sci Med 1982. 2011 Sep;73(6):793–800.

Week 4 Olafsdottir S, Pescosolido BA. Constructing illness: how the public in eight Western nations respond to a clinical description of ‘schizophrenia’. Soc Sci Med 1982. 2011 Sep;73(6):929–38.

Week 5 Cambrosio A, Keating P, Bourret P. Regulating Diagnosis in Post-Genomic Medicine: Re-Aligning Clinical Judgment? 2011 [cited 2016 Feb 29];

Week 6 Timmermans S, Haas S. Towards a sociology of disease. Sociol Health Illn. 2008 Jul;30(5):659–76.

Week 7 Aronowitz, R. A. (2001). When do symptoms become a disease? Annals of Internal Medicine,134(9 Pt 2), 803–808.

Week 8  Chapters 1 and 2 from Annemarie Mol’s book The Body Multiple – Mol, A. (2002) The Body Multiple: Ontology in Medical Practice. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Week 9  Chapter 12 from Ian Hacking’s book The Looping effects on Human Kinds. (Hacking I. 1995 “The looping effects of human kinds” in Causal Cognition: A Multidisciplinary Debate (Eds. Dan Sperber, David Premack, and Ann James Premack) Chapter 12, pp. 351-383).

Week 10 Rosenberg, C. E. (2002). The tyranny of diagnosis: specific entities and individual experience. The Milbank Quarterly, 80(2), 237–260

Week 11 Chapter 1 from James Rodger’s forthcoming book – “The Historical, Cultural, Epistemological and Research Context of Remitting-Relapsing Psychosis in Timor-Leste”

Week 12 Chapter 5 from Janice Boddy’s book, Wombs and Alien Spirits: Women, Men, and the Zar Cult in Northern Sudan Boddy, J.Wombs and Alien Spirits: Women, Men, and the Zar Cult in Northern Sudan. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989. Project MUSE.

Week 13 Two papers on the diagnosis of ADHD for comparisonon how they cast ADHD as a diagnostic category (Moffitt et al 2015 in American Journal of Psychiatry and Filipe 2015 in Medical Anthropology).

Week 13 Jutel and Buetow, 2007 A picture of health? Unmasking the role of appearance in health Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 50 (2007), pp. 421–434

Week 13 Whooley, O. (2010). Diagnostic ambivalence: psychiatric workarounds and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Sociology of Health & Illness, 32(3), 452–469.

Week 14 Yergeau, M. (2016). Occupying Autism: Rhetoric, Involuntarity, and the Meaning of Autistic Lives. In P. Block, D. Kasnitz, A. Nishida, & N. Pollard (Eds.), Occupying Disability: Critical Approaches to Community, Justice, and Decolonizing Disability (pp. 83–95). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.

Week 15 Davis, J. L. Narrative Construction of a Ruptured Self: Stories of Transability on Sociological Perspectives 55.2 (2012): 319-340. Web.

Week 16: Ebeling. M (2011) “Get with the Program!”: pharmaceutical marketing, symptom checklists, and self-diagnosis.Social Science & Medicine, 73 (2011), pp. 825–832

Week 17 Chapter 2 from Mary Ebeling’s Book Healthcare and Big Data: Digital Specters and Phantom Objects. Palgrave Macmillan (2016).

Week 18 Nettleton, S. (2004). The emergence of e-scaped medicine? Sociology, 38(4), 661–79.

Week 19 Kokanovic R, Bendelow G, Philip B. Depression: the ambivalence of
diagnosis. Sociol Health Ill 2013; 35(3):377-390

Week 20 Smith and Sparkes (2008) Changing bodies, changing narratives and the consequences of tellability: a case study of becoming disabled through sport. Sociol Health Illn. 2008 Mar;30(2):217-36. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2007.01033.x.

Week 21 (2015) Comprehending the body in the era of the epigenome.
Current Anthropology 56, no. 2 (April 2015): 151-177.

Week 22 Teo AR, Gaw AC (2010). Hikikomori, A Japanese Culture-Bound Syndrome of Social Withdrawal? A Proposal for DSM-V. The Journal of nervous and mental disease. 2010;198(6):444-449. doi:10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181e086b1.

Week 23 Newson, A.J., Leonard, S. J., Hall, A. and Gaff, C. L (2016). Known unknowns: Building an ethics of certainty into genomic medicineBMC Medical Genomics. 2016; 9(57) DOI 10.1186/s12920-016-0219-0

Week 24 Whelan, E (2007) No one agrees except for those of us who have it’: endometriosis patients as an epistemological communitySociology of Health and Illness. 29(7): 957-982. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2007.01024.x

Week 25 Scarry, E (no date) ‘Introduction‘. The Body in Pain.

Week 26 Jackson, J. E. (2005) ‘Stigma, Liminality and Chronic Pain: Mind-Body Boderlands’.  American Ethnologist. 32(3): 332-353. doi: 10.1525/ae.2005.32.3.332

Week 27 Ridge, D., Broom, A., Kokanović, R., Ziebland, S. and Hill, N. (2017) ‘Depression at Work, Authenticity in Question: Experiencing, Concealing and Revealing‘. Health. doi: 10.1177/1363459317739437 

Week 28 Johnstone, L. & Boyle, M. with Cromby, J., Dillon, J., Harper, D., Kinderman, P., Longden, E., Pilgrim, D. & Read, J. (2018) The Power Threat Meaning Framework: Towards the identification of patterns in emotional distress, unusual experiences and troubled or troubling behaviour, as an alternative to functional psychiatric diagnosis. Leicester: British Psychological Society.

Week 29 Brossard, B. and Carpentier, N. (2017) To What Extent does Diagnosis Matter? Dementia Diagnosis, Trouble Interpretation and Caregiving Network Dynamics. Sociology of Health & Illness. 39(4): 566-580doi: 10.1111/1467-9566.12501

Week 30 Sallin, K., Lagercrantz, H., Evers, K, Engstrom, I., Hjem, A. and Petrovic, P. (2016) Resignation Syndrome: Catatonia? Culture-Bound?Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience.

Week 31 Demasi, M. (2017) Statin Wars: Have we been misled about the evidence? A narrative reviewBr J Sports Med. And: Sismondo, S. (2017) ‘Power and Knowledge in Drug Marketing’ In: Ghost Managed Medicine.

Week 32 Charland, L. (2004) A madness for identity: Psychiatric labels, consumer autonomy and the perils of the Internet. Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology.

Week 33 Harris, M. (2009) Troubling biographical disruption: Narratives of unconcern about Hepatitis C diagnosisSociology of Health and Illness.

Week 34 Morrison, M. (2018) Valuing height: diagnosis, valuation and the case of idiopathic short statureSociology of Health and Illness.

Week 35 Jacobs, D. (2018) Implications of an Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis: An Interview Study of How Physicians Experience the Diagnosis in a Young Child. Journal of Clinical Medicine.

Week 36 Baum, F. and Fisher, M. (2014) Why behavioural health promotion endures despite its failure to reduce health inequalities. Sociology of Health and Illness.

Week 37 Bavnbek, K. et al. (unpublished) Comparing acute and chronic cardiac patients’ motivations for participating in a double-blind trial of autologous stem cells.

If you are interested in joining the group contact Elena Sharratt
See also