Call for Papers: The Sociology of Diagnosis
29th Sociology of Health & Illness Monograph
Editors: Annemarie Jutel, Ann V. Bell, Darin Weinberg and Jessica Young
In 1978, Mildred Blaxter published her seminal paper on diagnosis as category and as process. Using alcoholism as an example, she mused about how diagnoses were uncritically accepted as simple labels for biological facts (even by sociologists), when instead, they are actually complex social phenomena, deeply embedded in historical antecedents, shaped by the (in)ability to treat, and a changing social landscape. In 2009, Sociology of Health & Illness published Jutel’s “Sociology of diagnosis: a preliminary review” which renewed Blaxter’s entreaty, and effectively launched the contemporary sub-discipline of the sociology of diagnosis
(https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9566.2008.01152.x). From diagnostic recognition, to diagnostic coding, lay diagnosis, crowd-source diagnosis, algorithmic diagnosis, diagnostic exploitation, diagnostic systems (including non-Western systems like Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine), stigmatising diagnosis, contested diagnoses, to name only a few, there is an almost inexhaustible list of topics which lend themselves to sociological study and invite a reassessment of the field.
Diagnosis offers an important location where cultural, professional, and representational powers converge. The sociology of diagnosis therefore, today, more than ever, offers a privileged entry into Western understandings of the foundations of health, illness and disease. The monograph will offer an important snapshot of the possibilities of the field, demonstrating how the sociology of diagnosis, as it matures, provides a valuable vantage point from which to understand myriad social issues in health and illness, including power, resources, stigma and prestige, knowledge generation, ignorance and its management, and so forth. It will also reveal the gaps, shortcomings and deficits of the sub-field, punctuating what sociological work still remains to be done.
We invite theoretical and empirical papers that address how the critical analysis of diagnostic categories as social phenomena has provided a novel lens for understanding health, illness and disease. We tentatively intend to thematically frame the collection, with provisional sub-sections of diagnosis-as-category, diagnosis-as-process and diagnostic consequences. We are particularly interested in essays that reflect upon the sub-discipline as such, its potential and its limitations. This is in line with Richard Turner’s assertion that emerging disciplines “…need to explain, first to themselves, then to their peers in the academy, and finally to their constituents in the larger society, why their work is important and how it has authoritative presence as contributions to knowledge and as added value to society’s goals and aspirations.”
Prospective contributors should send an abstract of up to 600 words to annemarie.jutel by 31st January 2022. Abstracts should clearly indicate the proposed paper’s sociological importance. Informal email enquiries prior to submission are welcome (please address these to annemarie.jutel). Name and institutional affiliation of author(s) should also be supplied, including full contact details.
We encourage contributions from broad locations—indigenous, non-western, marginalised groups—in order to critically interrogate diagnosis and its scholarship; as well as contributions from authors at a range of career stages, from early career to more established scholars.
Proposals will be reviewed by the monograph team, and prospective authors will be notified by 31 March 2022. These short-listed authors will be invited to submit their work by 31 July 2022. Submissions will be refereed in the usual way and should follow the journal’s style guidelines. Individual articles will be published on Early View as and when they are ready. The collection will be published together with the Introduction as a special issue online once all are complete.