Simon Cohn

of Medical Anthropology


15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

020 7927 2848


Faculty of Public Health and Policy
Department of Health Services Research 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. Work on blood & blood donation, the withdrawing of fluids at the end of life, and a new project on urinary incontinence are 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 colleage 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 manager of the School-wide network of social scientists, Kritikos.

Social Sciences

Selected Publications

Entangled complexity: why complex interventions are just not complicated enough
Cohn, S.; Clinch, M.; Bunn, C.; Stronge, P.
Journal of Health Services Research and Policy
Disrupting Images: Neuroscientific Representations in the Lives of Psychiatric Patients
Cohn, S.
Critical Neuroscience : A Handbook of the Social and Cultural Contexts of Neuroscience
See all Simon Cohn's Publications