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Developing public sociology through health impact assessment

Elliott, Eva and Williams, Gareth Howard 2008. Developing public sociology through health impact assessment. Sociology of Health & Illness 30 (7) , pp. 1101-1116. 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2008.01103.x

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Abstract

The renewed interest in ‘public sociology’ has sparked debate and discussion about forms of sociological work and their relationship to the State and civil society. Medical sociologists are accustomed to engaging with a range of publics and audiences inside and outside universities and are in a position to make an informed contribution to this debate. This paper describes how some of the debates about sociological work are played out through a ‘health impact assessment’ of a proposed housing renewal in a former coal mining community. We explore the dynamics of the health impact assessment process and relate it to wider debates, current in the social sciences, on the ‘new knowledge spaces’ within which contentious public issues are now being discussed, and the nature of different forms of expertise. The role of the ‘public sociologist’ in mediating the relationships between the accounts and interpretations of lay participants and the published ‘evidence’ is described as a process of mutual learning between publics, professionals and social scientists. It is argued that the continued existence and development of any meaningful ‘professional sociology’ requires an openness to a ‘public sociology’ which recognises and responds to new spaces of knowledge production.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff Institute of Society and Health (CISHE)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords: public sociology; civic intelligence; lay knowledge; health impact assessment
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing and the Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness
ISSN: 0141-9889
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:17
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/19356

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Cited 8 times in Web of Science. View in Web of Science.

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