Posted Wed, 23 Jan 2019 08:41:25
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Booking for the one day symposium in London on 'Sociological contributions to public health' on Monday 8th April 2019 is now open and is accessible via the link below.
This event is supported by the Foundation for Sociology of Health and Illness, to provide an opportunity to exchange knowledge and develop an agenda for a proposed network of sociologists working with public health.
As part of the day we will display posters to showcase the 'impact' of sociology on public health, so if you have examples from past or current REF exercises or similar that you are willing to share with colleagues, please dig them out.
Details of the background below. Please mark the date in your diaries: we hope to see many of you there.
On behalf of the organising committee (Catherine Will, Fiona Stevenson, Andrew Guise and Judy Green)
Background to symposium
Debates around complexity and causation have opened up spaces for more explicit theoretical and methodological sociological contributions to public health, beyond the traditional 'concepts' that form part of public health training, such as stigma, or inequality. Novel applications of approaches from (for example) practice theory and posthumanism have been promulgated as offering ways through impasses in health and health equity improvement. To move from exhortation to practice, theoretical insights need to be integrated into real world settings, in collaboration with policy and practice experts. To this end, sociologists have been active in calling for more creative and productive relationships with public health.
This is a good moment to capitalise on this interest, and consolidate the visibility of sociology for public health practitioners and policy makers. A recent Public Health England report<https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2018/10/03/behavioural-and-social-sciences-in-public-health-the-first-strategy-of-its-kind/> ( https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-peoples-health-applying-behavioural-and-social-sciences )on social and behavioural sciences in public health called for more 'social' research in public health, but the focus of examples was largely the behavioural sciences. Apart from noting contributions of (e.g.) Normalisation Process Theory, sociology was under-represented. This is in part because sociologists have been less active in organising channels of communication between theory and practice. Interest from PHE and other bodies provides a window of opportunity to do this now. This symposium will be an essential first step for developing a network of sociologists to work in collaboration with public health policy makers and practitioners in in the UK.
Ongoing research across the sociology of health community on topics as diverse as food, transport, physical activity, homelessness and mental health, from a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives, illustrates the potential for innovative and useful sociological contributions to public health. This symposium will showcase this work, provide an opportunity for academic reflection, and consider how we can best capitalise on increasing interest from public health colleagues in sociological approaches.
We anticipate the majority of participants will be sociologists of health; we have also included participants from public health policy to ensure we are exploiting existing channels of communication.
Aims of symposium:
* Showcase recent and ongoing sociological contributions to public health in the UK
* Generate debate on how sociologists can best engage with public health policy and practice for mutual benefit
* Exchange knowledge within the medical sociology community around intersecting with public health
* Identify an agenda for a proposed network and study group for sociologists working with public health
* Identify a core working group to take forward a BSA MedSoc special interest study group
Many academics will have already reflected on the 'impact' of their work through developing case studies for REF and for funders. We will solicit posters from participants to showcase these examples, and plan how these could be made more widely available as exemplars (e.g. on a web site for a future study group).
The symposium will cost £20 to register as a contribution to refreshments: we will have 5 supported places with a contribution to travel for unwaged sociologists.
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