Simon Cohn

of Medical Anthropology


15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

020 7927 2848


Department of Health Services Research and Policy
Faculty of Public Health and Policy


My research to date has focused on issues related to diagnosis, contested conditions and chronic illness in the UK and other high-income societies. With a strong commitment to contemporary social theory, I am interested in how innovative social science might provide both critical insight and influence in aspects of contemporary biomedical practice.

I have become fascinated by the role of fluids, both inside and outside the body: how they relate to health, their general absence in medical anthropology and sociology accounts, and the extent to which their constant movement and flow might demand a new way to think about old problems. Together with Rebecca Lynch, work on blood & blood donation, a project on urinary incontinence, and preliminary work on human waste, are all serving as introductory cases to think with.

In parallel, my general interest in practice theory has recently led to an ESRC end of life project, called Forms of Care, with my colleages Annelieke Driessen and Dr Erica Borgstrom. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted amongst London palliative care teams, we are interested in whether 'not doing' and 'not saying' constitute a form of 'doing', and the extent to which they are often a silenced form of medical care. 

I am the Faculty Reserach Degree Director and a member of the current ESRC Bloomsbury DTC Board. I am also driector of the new Faculty's Anthropology and Sociology hub, which will grow to become a lively place for collaboration, discussion and the showcasing of work that has a strong anthropology or sociology component.

Social Sciences

Selected Publications

Multidisciplinary Team Meetings as Care in Practice: an ethnography of hospital and community palliative care in the UK
Borgstrom E; Cohn S; Driessen A; Dumble K; Martin J; Yardley S
'We come in as 'the nothing'': Researching non-intervention in palliative care
Borgstrom E; Driessen A; Cohn S
Medicine, Anthropology, Theory
Making a decision about surgery for female urinary incontinence: a qualitative study of women's views.
Lynch R; Toozs-Hobson P; Duckett J; Tincello D; Cohn S
International urogynecology journal
The THRIVE model: A framework and review of internal and external predictors of coping with chronic illness.
White K; Issac MS; Kamoun C; Leygues J; Cohn S
Health psychology open
Extended and standard duration weight-loss programme referrals for adults in primary care (WRAP): a randomised controlled trial.
Ahern AL; Wheeler GM; Aveyard P; Boyland EJ; Halford JCG; Mander AP; Woolston J; Thomson AM; Tsiountsioura M; Cole D
Falling into a routine: from habits to situated practices.
Cohn S; Lynch R
Sociology of health & illness
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