Category: Science & Technology

Illness or Deviance: A Contested Space Between Criminal Justice and Medicine

Foucault wrote that the nineteenth century ushered in a new way to inspect the body; recognizing that medical personnel had placed the patient under “perpetual examination” (1975). His interest, however, was on the discourse that produced, maintained, and extended the medical look or “gaze” (1975). The “clinic,” for Foucault, became an apparatus of examination; a site of knowledge production bound by rules and regulations. It became an authoritative institution where the individual became the object of scrutiny (Long, 1992). Following...

New issue of Sociology Compass out now! (Vol 5, Issue 9)

Crime & Deviance Racial Profiling/Biased Policing (pages 763–774) Clayton Mosher Article first published online: 6 SEP 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2011.00403.x Culture Social Interaction: Do Non-humans Count? (pages 775–791) Karen A. Cerulo Article first published online: 6 SEP 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2011.00404.x Organisations & Work Mediators of Opportunity: High School Counselors in the 21st Century (pages 792–806) Vicki Smith Article first published online: 6 SEP 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2011.00407.x   Work and Neoliberal Globalization: A Polanyian Synthesis (pages 807–823) Nina Bandelj,...

New issue of Sociology Compass out now! (Vol 5, Issue 8)

    Sociology Compass © Blackwell Publishing Ltd Volume 5, Issue 8 Pages 666 – 762, August 2011 The latest issue of Sociology Compass is available on Wiley Online Library   Communication & Media Cultural Imperialism Versus Globalization of Culture: Riding the Structure-Agency Dialectic in Global Communication and Media Studies (pages 666–678) Christof Demont-Heinrich Article first published online: 1 AUG 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2011.00401.x   Culture The Cultural Construction of Heterosexual Identities (pages 679–687) James Joseph Dean Article first published...

The Potential of Epigenetics for Sociology

A careful understanding of epigenetic mechanisms allows sociologists to include a new biological perspective into research designs – when it is incorporated carefully and not used casually or blindly as a deus ex machina explanatory device that is. Epigenetics provides us with one of several “mechanisms by which social influences become embodied” (Kuzawa and Sweet 2008: 2). A promising place for sociologists to enter into this research or use it fruitfully is to examine how social environments and inequalities become embodied...

New issue of Sociology Compass out now! (Vol 5, Issue 5)

      Sociology Compass © Blackwell Publishing Ltd Volume 5, Issue 5 Page 311 – 398 The latest issue of Sociology Compass is available on Wiley Online Library   Gender Rethinking Gender and Violence: Agency, Heterogeneity, and Intersectionality (pages 311–322) S.J. Creek and Jennifer L. Dunn Article first published online: 2 MAY 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2011.00360.x Race & Ethnicity Navigating a Hostile Terrain: Refugees and Human Rights in Southeast Asia (pages 323–335) Pei Palmgren Article first published online: 2...

Problem Solving Courts

In mid February 2011 The Guardian newspaper published an edited version of David Faulkner’s contribution to the United Kingdom’s Centre for Crime and Justice Studies’ report “Lessons for the Coalition” which was written in response to the first report of the National Preventative Mechanism – a new body set up under the optional protocol to the UN convention against torture. The National Preventative Mechanism’s report highlighted problem areas in the UK’s approach to mental health, resources, vulnerable groups such as...

Cochlear Implants: Miracle Technology or Cultural Genocide?

Deafness and hearing loss is a condition or state of being whose meaning is contested. The biomedical, or infirmity, understanding of deafness is that hearing loss is a disability that, in many cases, can be cured or ameliorated through advanced technological devices and procedures, including surgery and internal and external prostheses. The newest of these technologies, cochlear implants, can help a deaf infant hear and speak in almost the same way as a hearing person. As opposed to the biomedical...

Patient autonomy and the biomedical model

Recently, there have been many suggestions that a backlash against the unilateralism of the biological approach in medicine is on the brink. Perhaps, some suggest, patients have garnered some say in their treatment, even though many researchers suggest that modern medical practice strips patients’ rights to make their own decisions. But where ought the boundary between patient autonomy and doctor totalitarianism be? On the one hand, purely diagnostic, biomedical medicine that does not allow for patients’ own insight into their...

Blinded by narcissism?

In the Freudian Era, Narcissism was a central psychiatric concept and diagnosis. In the last several months, the likelihood that the American Psychiatric Association will drop this diagnosis from it’s new, 5th edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has been the subject of a string of articles in prominent newspapers and other news outlets including the New York Times and NPR. Though the debate is one about professional discourse and diagnosis, it extends well beyond...

New issue of Sociology Compass out now! (Vol 4, Issue 12)

Sociology Compass © Blackwell Publishing Ltd Volume 4, Issue 12 Page 999 – 1078 The latest issue of Sociology Compass is available on Wiley Online Library Crime & Deviance Parole Revocation in the Era of Mass Incarceration (pages 999–1010) Jeffrey Lin Article first published online: 1 DEC 2010 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2010.00335.x Gender Men and Erotic Oases (pages 1011–1019) Richard Tewksbury Article first published online: 1 DEC 2010 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2010.00343.x Science & Medicine Fat Studies: Mapping the Field (pages 1020–1034)...

Genes cannot be bought, but their testing certainly can be…

The recent uptick in genetic testing for a range of illnesses has prompted great debate in the medical community about how reliable and useful the testing is, as well as discussion among social scientists about the social and ethical consequences of the testing. One line of inquiry that has been around a bit longer is about biological thinking, specifically as it is related to stigma and inequality. In particular, there is a fascinating and timely discussion of the geneticization of...

The Medical Marijuana Hype: It's Not As Easy As THC

Let’s get it out there up front: I’m not a medical doctor or a medical researcher, so this is not going to be a discussion of the physiological effects of THC.  Instead, I want to step back for a moment and engage in a cultural critique of the hype surrounding medical marijuana.  Put simply, I’m not concerned here with what marijuana actually does; rather, I’m concern with the place that marijuana (particularly, when used for therapeutic purposes) holds in our...

The wide usage of antipsychotic medications may indicate social rather than biological etiology

There are many lessons to take away from the New York Times article linked below that describes a rambunctious little boy whose life was nearly ruined by anti-psychotic medications. Increasing numbers of children have been prescribed this class of drugs as of late for conditions ranging from Tourette Syndrome to bipolar disorder, which psychiatrists have begun to diagnose in children at younger and younger ages. There is controversy surrounding the very ability to diagnose these conditions in young children and...

If a depression begets depression, will the concept of mental illness be altered?

For the last several decades, depression rates have been on the rise at a rapid pace. At the same time, the economy was in a boom. Socioeconomic status is a variable that has been shown over and over again to affect the likelihood to experience depression; there is an inverse relationship between income/wealth and depression. If the economy was better a few years ago and depression rates were up, it is imperative that we think about what is happening and...

Oil gushes into the Gulf of Mexico, who has the expertise to stop it?

Oil has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for over a month as a result of an explosion atop a rig that was extracting crude from a 5,000-foot-deep well owned by British Petroleum. The horrific event, which killed 11 men working on that rig, set off a leak that experts say is pumping anywhere between 5,000 and 18,000 barrels of oil a day; that’s anywhere from 210,000 to 756,000 gallons of crude oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico...

NHS Heroin: A “Cure” for Crime?

The General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing [RCN], Peter Carter, has called for the prescription of the (currently illegal) drug heroin to be prescribed on the National Health Service [NHS]. Although, not the first to suggest this radical approach to problematic drug (mis)use, his intervention at this particular juncture raises questions. Given the upcoming UK General Election (6 May 2010), as well as the recent controversies surrounding the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs [ACMD], Carter’s comments appear...