Sociology Of Health & Illness New Writer’s Prize 2019
2019 Prize Winner
The Editorial Board would like to offer their congratulations to Jane S. VanHeuvelen, University of Illinois, Chicago, USA, who is the winner of the Sociology of Health & Illness 2019 Mildred Blaxter New Writer’s Prize. The winning article ‘Isolation or interaction: healthcare provider experience of design change‘ is available to read here.
In her article, VanHeuvelen explores how changes in the design of healthcare facilities are experienced by providers. Employing an inhabited institutionalist theoretical framework, and drawing on ethnographic and interview data collected at a neonatal intensive care unit, VanHeuvelen unpacks the transformation of an open-bay unit to one with single-patient rooms. She captures how such changes interfered with the original local organisational culture of collaboration. Whilst providers actively tried to maintain the ‘original culture’, their success in doing so was mediated by the built environment. In response, providers developed new practices – such as ‘doorway discussions’ and ‘hallway hangouts’ – which could undermine or transpose the original organisational culture of the clinic. VanHeuvelen’s article fits well into recent work published in the journal which calls for greater attention to the effects of physical space on organisational culture.
The reviewers’ comments on the paper were as follows:
“Beautifully articulated argument about how space/physical environment shapes practices. Powerful examples of the unintended consequences of design changes and the impact of institutional logics. Effective use of high-quality data to back up theoretically informed argument.“
“I love this paper. It is for me a model sociology paper. It applies and develops theory but at the same time tells an interesting story and is a fun read. The images have stayed with me (the babies being wheeled through the hospital to the new accommodation, the nurses leaning into rooms) and I can easily recall and retell the main findings and I can see myself doing this when I am teaching or talking to colleagues.“
Highly Commended Papers
Alongside the winning article, two articles were ‘Highly Commended’ by the judging panel in recognition of the quality of their research and writing:
- Malene N. Bødker, Ulla Christensen, and Henriette Langstrup (University of Copenhagen, Denmark): ‘Home care as reablement or enabling arrangements? An exploration of the precarious dependencies in living with functional decline’;
- Austin H. Johnson (Kenyon College, Ohio, USA): ‘Rejecting, reframing, and reintroducing: trans people’s strategic engagement with the medicalisation of gender dysphoria’.
The winning and highly commended are free to access until September 2020.
About the Mildred Blaxter New Writer’s Prize
The Editorial Board of Sociology of Health and Illness offers an annual prize of £300 for the best article published by a novice writer. When the Journal was first conceived, in 1979, one of its stated aims was the encouragement of new authors and less-experienced medical sociologists. The prize furthers this aim, and is made possible through the generosity of the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness. The Judges are a small subcommittee of the Editorial Board. The prize is awarded, where possible, at the BSA Medical Sociology Study Group conference each year.