Esarn16 Conference

Sociology of health and medicine in the public arena during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

Following the last Mid-term Conference of the Research Network of Sociology of Health and Medicine, European Sociological Association (ESA RN16) that was organised online by Jagiellonian University, the next Mid-term conference will be hosted in Prague, by Charles University in the Czech Republic. The event will take place from the 24th to the 26th of May 2023. With the hope of bringing scholars in person to the heart of Europe, the event's main aim will be to reflect on the role that sociologists have played during the COVID-19 pandemic, and on the implications of their involvement in the future.

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Inspired by Burawoy’s (2005) work on the division of sociological labour, the Mid-term conference in Prague will provide a unique opportunity to discuss the involvement of sociologists in policy-making and public debate concerning the global health emergency. Furthermore, the conference will focus on the new challenges and trends within the sociology of health and medicine, a sub-discipline that emerged as a response to the pandemic. Moreover, specific attention will be given to the interdisciplinary interactions of sociologists. Last but not least, the conference will provide an opportunity to reflect on the expanding confines of the sociology of health and medicine, considering the rising academic interest in health and medicine among those scholars who until recently remained outside of the sub-discipline.

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The purpose of the conference will be to reflect on the varieties of sociological engagement during the global health emergency. Sociologists contributed to policy-making by identifying the needs of citizens, including marginalised groups and communities, and by proposing policy measures. As public intellectuals, they joined the public debate and remembered the socio-cultural implications of the pandemic, often obscured by the primacy of medical, political or economic discourses. Finally, the global pandemic opened new and unprecedented avenues for the interdisciplinary collaboration of sociologists with scholars from other disciplines. All of these societal, public and scholarly initiatives have not taken place independently but have been frequently intertwined. The purpose of the conference will be to reflect on the epistemological, theoretical and methodological implications of the variety of positions that sociologists took in these uneasy times in order to define challenges and avenues for further research.

The conference will consist of keynote lectures, roundtables, regular sessions and poster sessions.

The event will be preceded by the ECR Pre-conference Workshop.