Biography

I moved to the UK in 1995 after having completed a master’s degree in the history of medicine at the University of Innsbruck, Austria and after having gained first experience in lecturing at higher education level. I then completed my studies with a M.Sc. in medical anthropology (Brunel University, London) and a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the University of Cambridge. My research interests have always been on how society, culture and history shape our understanding of how body and mind are related and how this in turn shapes our knowledge of health, illness and disease. I also have an interest in how our knowledge and practices of the management of health and illness are gendered. This has lead me to do research on the rise of autoimmune disorders, the development of gene therapy, and the introduction of the HPV vaccination in Europe.

Career

2006 - currently: lecturer in the sociology and anthropology of medicine, and team leader of the Sociology & Anthropology module, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.

2001-2002 Faculty teacher, Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge.

1996-97 lecturer in medical anthropology, Department of Education, Innsbruck University and in anthropology and history, Department of Social History, Innsbruck University, Austria.

1996 Junior Fellow, International Research Centre for Cultural Studies, Vienna
Professional Qualifications and professional memberships

2002 Ph.D. Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK Dissertation ‘Social Performances of an Autoimmune Disorder (SLE): Shifting Knowledge and Practices’ (no corrections)

1996 M.Sc. Medical Anthropology (with distinction), Brunel University of West London, UK

1993 M.A. History, Innsbruck University, Innsbruck, Austria

Research Interests

My research interests are gender and health; sociology of diagnosis; public understanding of medical interventions and medical innovations (HPV vaccination and computerised CBT). I am also interested in how emotions are constructed and acted out within medicine and in medical training.

Selected publications

(2012) The Expert Patient and usage of the Internet. In: The Changing Roles of Doctors, edited by Penny Cavanagh & Sam Leinster, Radcliffe Publishing

(2012) Historical Aspects of Gender in Autoimmunity and the Immune System Discourse. In: Gender and Health. Edited by Tracy Penny Light, University of Waterloo, Canada

(with A.Howe and A. Smajdor) Towards an understanding of resilience and its development in medical training. Medical Education (accepted October 2011)

-2011 (together with A. Smajdor and C. Salter) The Limits of empathy: Problems in medical education and practice. Journal of Medical Ethics 37, 380-383.

-2010 (together with P.Posadzki et.al.) A mixed-method approach to sense of coherence, health behaviors, self-efficacy and optimism: Towards the operationalization of positive health attitudes. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 51, 3, 246-252.

-2010 Public Discourses and Policymaking: The HPV Vaccination from the European Perspective. In: Three Shots at Prevention. The HPV Vaccine and the Politics of Medicine´s Simple Solutions. Edited by Keith Wailoo, Julie Livingstone, Steven Epstein and Robert Aronowitz. Baltimore, The John Hopkins Press.

-2007 Complex syndromes, ambivalent diagnosis, and existential uncertainty: The case of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Social Science & Medicine, 65, 7, 1549-1559

2006 Ethnography, Travel Writing and the Self: Reflections on Socially Robust Knowledge and the Authorial Ego. Review Essay: Laurel Richardson & Ernest Lockridge (2004). Travels with Ernest:

Crossing the Literary/Sociological Divide
http://www.qualitative-research.net/fqs-texte/2-06/06-2-11-e.htm

-2003 Scientific Innovations and the Anthropological Gaze. Anthropology in Action 10, 2-8.

Current Research Projects and Grants

I am involved in qualitative evaluation of computerised CBT interventions; complicated grief in people with learning disabilities (grant pending); and in research on the making of a diagnosis (ESRC grant currently pending).

I am supervising master’s thesis on the lived experience of coping with rehabilitating a partner who has survived a critical illness (Michelle Mantripp); reasons for name change in medium secure psychiatric hospitals (Toral Thomas); a MD on how families cope with having more than one autistic child (Imogen Waterson); Ph.D.s on gender and AIDS prevention in Egypt (Atef Bakhoum); and an ethnographic study on one-to-one care in midwifery (Georgina Sosa).

Academic Background

  • 2002 Ph.D. Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK Dissertation ‘Social Performances of an Autoimmune Disorder (SLE): Shifting Knowledge and Practices’
  • 1996 M.Sc. Medical Anthropology (with distinction), Brunel University of West London, UK
  • 1993 M.A. History, Innsbruck University, Innsbruck, Austria

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