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UPDigest - Sociology Newsletter (January 2023)

UPDigest - Sociology Newsletter (January 2023)

Sociology@York Newsletter, February 2023

Current Perspectives on the Sociology of Health and Illness


Dear Students,

In our first newsletter in 2023 we introduce you to recent contributions to the Sociology of Health and Illness in our department.

For the past few years of living through the Covid-19 pandemic, we have collectively seen and felt the impact of this public health emergency. We have debated the implications of health policies on everyday life, witnessed how existing vulnerabilities and social inequalities have been dramatically exposed, and have grappled with many forms of loss and political polarization.

The implications of infectious disease outbreaks is one of the issues that our colleagues have investigated in their work. Thus, Pat Armstrong, who recently won a national leadership award on her advocacy, has been an outspoken critic of the privatization of long term care. She shows us how systemic underfunding and neglect contribute to making our seniors’ live precarious before, during, and after Covid-19.

Also in this issue, Harris Ali considers the Covid-19 pandemic as a “sociological breaching experiment in which normally routine and expected ways of social life become disrupted.” Cary Wu explores how inflation in the immediate post-pandemic context contributes to social inequalities around health and living conditions drawing on current statistical data. Michael Nijhawan introduces his new research on how people with chronic autoimmune illness have struggled in the same period.

Our department has been leading critical research in the field of health and society for decades. Eric Mykhalovskiy’s work on HIV non-disclosure is a leading example for such critical work, as it highlights a key issue of contemporary law-making processes and social conflict. His work bridges the sociology of health and illness and public sociology, another characteristic strength of our department.

Our graduate students have been actively researching and publishing in this area as well. Leigha Comer writes in this issue on how living with chronic pain often entails stigmatization based on false perceptions and attitudes toward chronic pain “that reflect longstanding beliefs that people with chronic pain are malingerers seeking secondary gains such as disability benefits.”

We hope that this issue inspires you to delve more into these and related topics while pursuing your Sociology degree at York.

Best wishes et bonne journée,

Michael Nijhawan, for the Sociology Team