22nd Sociology of Health & Illness Monograph Call for Abstracts

The Sociology of Healthcare Safety and Quality


Improving the quality and safety of healthcare is a global priority. The 22nd Sociology of Health & Illness Monograph will bring together empirical, theoretical and methodological contributions to progress a distinctive sociological understanding of this rapidly developing field. The intention is to showcase papers that apply sociological conceptualisations and critiques to quality and safety across diverse international contexts, expand orthodox thinking and signal new directions. The Monograph will address the following cross-cutting themes:

Theoretical and methodological issues

Papers are invited which advance sociological analyses of the history and evolution of quality and safety as objects of social concern; the changing meaning and significance of these concepts and their inter-relationships; the relationship of quality and safety with wider social values such as equity, choice and efficiency; and the social construction of ‘safety and quality’ in popular media. We also welcome contributions that explore methodological issues, including different modes of sociological engagement with quality and safety; the development of new or emerging methodologies for researching quality and safety; and ethical issues raised by empirical work in this field.

Organising for quality and safety

This theme focuses on the organisation of quality and safety. Papers sought include those that deconstruct quality and safety policies and their effects; explore the role of regulatory systems and incentives; analyse the impact of different social and legal accountability frameworks for professionals, patients and policy makers; and examine the cultural aspects of quality and safety. Alternative ways of conceptualising the organisation of quality and safety such as the ‘patient-as-co-professional’ are welcomed.

Technologies and practices of quality and safety

This theme explores different technologies and practices of quality and safety. Contributions are invited which explore sociologically the design and implementation of improvement interventions; the translation into practice and the effects of ideas and frameworks originating outside of healthcare; the interrelations of human and non-humans in this field; situated clinical practices, and public involvement.

Experiences of quality & safety

This theme examines individual experiences of quality and safety. It includes exploration of the meanings of quality and safety for service users, professionals, managers and policymakers and their implications for the relationships between different actors as they negotiate quality and safety in the clinical encounter or pursue quality improvement across stakeholder boundaries. We also encourage papers that study how understanding of quality and safety is shaped by class, ethnicity, gender and competing logics, discourses and cultural norms.

The monograph will appear both as a regular issue of the journal and in book form in February 2016. Potential contributors should send an abstract of up to 600 words to allenda@cf.ac.uk by 31st January 2014. Abstracts should clearly indicate the proposed paper's sociological importance. Informal email enquiries prior to submission are welcome. Name and institutional affiliation of author(s) should also be supplied, including full contact details.

Proposals will be reviewed and potential authors notified by 31 March 2014. Short-listed authors will be invited to submit their work by 31 July 2014. Submissions will be refereed in the usual way and should follow the journal's style guidelines (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291467-9566/homepage/ForAuthors.html).