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We provide a forum for discussion, research dissemination, and building new research collaborations between researchers within LSHTM who associate themselves with this discipline.

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Theory book club

The Social Theory Book Club meets more or less monthly for discussions in a Bloomsbury pub. We have read works from a wide range of authors including Marilyn Strathern’s ‘Partial Connections’, Annemarie Mol’s ‘Body Multiple’, John Dewey’s ‘The Public and its Problems’ and Anna Tsing’s ‘Mushroom at the End of the World’. The group is made up of scholars from different social science disciplines interested in critically engaging with theory and includes those from King’s College, UCL as well as LSHTM.

If you’re interested in joining us, please contact Rebecca Lynch (

Kritikos Study Group 

The Kritikos Study Group is an informal discussion group for qualitative researchers, staff and RD students. This is intended for researchers:

  • Conducting qualitative research that is rooted in a social science discipline and is theoretically informed.
  • Who can commit to attending most sessions, and reading any necessary materials in advance of each session.

The groups meets fortnightly, aiming to provide a:

  • Regular, supportive space in which Research Degree students and researchers can present, discuss and explore their qualitative research, from a range of social science disciplines and theoretical perspectives.
  • Networking opportunity for RD students and researchers who might be working with similar methods, data, concepts, theory or analysis.

Sessions will be facilitated, and include:

  • Discussions of group members’ on-going work (at any stage) and discussions of the literature.
  • Guest speakers, sharing their work and tips, and answering questions. 


  • Meetings are in the afternoon on the 2nd Thursday of each month, and in the morning on the 4th Tuesday.

Join/stay up to date:

Who we are
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Prof Clare Chandler


Professor of Medical Anthropology
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Research projects
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Caring for Strangers: An ethnography of informal care in Berlin amongst migrant women

Project summary 
My doctoral research looks at the kinds of relations of care that form as migrant women find their feet in a new city.  Focusing primarily on forced migrant women, I explore the ways relations of care are affected by the spaces of the city, especially as they encourage, hinder or maintain ways of belonging to the city.

Research approach
Drawing on urbanistic principles, the project views health relationally with place. The physical characteristics of the neighbourhood, such as dwelling spaces, the open realm and networks of circulation, form a key parameter against which relations of care and forms of belonging are interrogated.

People involved

  • Maayan Ashkenazi, Research Degree Student, LSHTM
  • Simon Cohn, PhD project supervisor, Professor at LSHTM
Dialogue, Evidence, Participation & Translation for Health (DEPTH)

Project summary 
We conduct research to understand the implications and effects of community involvement and dialogue in promoting health, planning health services, and quality improvement of existing services.

Our work spans seven key research themes:

  • Voices and experiences in health
  • Community participation and citizenship
  • Dialogues about sexual and reproductive health
  • Transitions to adulthood
  • Digital life
  • Conducting and communicating science in an ethical way
  • Dialogue and the arts

Our research involves community involvement and participation, including:

  • Young people; for example sociology of sickle cell disease and transitions to adulthood (‘This Sickle Cell Life’)
  • Patient involvement, including ethnographic research of patient co-production of health, developing theory on citizenship and participation
  • Sexual and reproductive health, especially for young people
  • Relationships between sex, sexuality, and technology

Current projects

  • This Sickle Cell Life’ examines the experiences of young people with sickle cell as they transition to adulthood and move from using child to adult services
  • NIHR CLAHRC for NWL patient involvement
  • Theorising community and patient participation and involvement in health promotion and health research
  • Forthcoming pending contract, a DFID-funded multi-country study of sexual and reproductive health and rights aiming to understand and improve sexual and reproductive health and rights among marginalised populations in complex and challenging environment


  • Marston C, Renedo A, Nyaaba GN. Fertility regulation as identity maintenance: Understanding the social aspects of birth control. J Health Psychol. 2018;23(2):240-51
  • Miles S. Sex in the digital city: location-based dating apps and queer urban life. Gender, Place & Culture 2017; 24(11):1595-1610
  • Renedo A, Marston C. Spaces for Citizen Involvement in Healthcare: An Ethnographic Study. Sociology-the Journal of the British Sociological Association. 2015;49(3):488-504
  • Renedo A, Komporozos-Athanasiou A, Marston C. Experience as Evidence: The Dialogic Construction of Health Professional Knowledge through Patient Involvement. Sociology-the Journal of the British Sociological Association. 2018;52(4):778-95


  • Kühlbrandt, C (2017) Containment - An examination of Roma health mediation in Romania. PhD thesis, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. DOI: (supervised by AR)
  • Grenfell, P. (2018). Structural violence and sex work in Lima, Peru (supervised CM)

Twitter: and

People involved

Fluid Bodies

Project summary

‘Fluid Bodies’ refers to a set of projects that take a material-semiotic approach to bodily boundaries and construction of the body, interactions between bodies and environments, and wider moral orders, focusing particularly on fluids.

  1. Bodies, persons, and blood donation (COMPLETED)
  2. Leaky bodies - examining female urinary incontinence (COMPLETING APRIL 2019)

People involved

  • Simon Cohn, Professor of Medical Anthropology at LSHTM
  • Rebecca Lynch, Assistant Professor (Medical Anthropology) at LSHTM

Research approach

Projects have involved ethnographic observation and interviews with patients, blood donors, and clinical staff in two different biomedical settings in different UK hospitals: blood donation clinics and urogynaecology clinics.

Critiquing and seeking to advance approaches to conceptualisations of the body, we have sought to produce outputs that speak to clinical as well as anthropology/sociological audiences.


Blood donation work examined how posthuman and materialist approaches might enable a reconsideration of anthropological concern with personhood and ownership of donated materials.

Work on urinary incontinence has involved considering the distributed nature of decision-making, self-control, bodily boundaries, embodiment, and the contribution of an anthropological approach to surgery.

Projects and collaborations in development extend debates on the body through considering the body: environment interaction, and indeed, where such a line might be drawn.


  • Lynch, R. (2019) ‘Of flesh and mesh: Time, materiality, and health in surgical recovery’ in Parkhurst, A. & Carroll, T. (eds) Medical Materialities, Routledge
  • Lynch, R; Cohn, S; (2018) Donor understandings of blood and the body in relation to more frequent donation. Vox sanguinis, 113 (4). pp. 350-356
  • Lynch, R; Cohn, S; (2017) Beyond the person: the construction and transformation of blood as a resource. Critical public health, 27 (3). pp. 362-372
  • Cohn, S; Lynch, R; (2017) Posthuman perspectives: relevance for a global public health. Critical public health, 27 (3). pp. 285-292
  • Cohn, S; Lynch, R; (2017) Diverse bodies: the challenge of new theoretical approaches to medical anthropology. Anthropology & medicine, 24 (2). pp. 131-141
Forms of Care: An ethnography of palliative care

Project summary

Forms of Care is an ethnographic study of palliative care practices. We seek to explore how routine practices of ‘not doing’ – whether they are conscious and deliberate or the result of more distributed social interactions – are an active and valuable form of care.

We aim to contribute to current debates about what appropriate clinical practice and good care are, and can be.

Research approach

The project involves an ethnography of palliative and end of life care in a large NHS hospital and its neighbouring community services.

The methods are:

  • observations of multidisciplinary staff meetings of the palliative care team
  • shadowing and interviewing palliative care staff members
  • carrying out detailed case studies of patients and their close family members

Aim of the project

We aim to develop theoretical and methodological approaches that are able to take acts of not doing seriously.

As part of the project, we will organise innovative workshop sessions to reflect upon the ethnographic findings and help these to be useful to palliative care, and wider clinical practice.

People involved

How I fell out of love with the NHS: An ethnography of hip replacements

Project summary

My PhD uses the case study of hip replacements to understand the current debates around the crisis of the NHS.

I have now decided it will be entitled “How I fell out of love with the NHS” as I found that many of the inequalities I found in care are to do with 1) subtle sorting practices based on principles of liberal democracy 2) the obsession with quantitative data and 3) the gendered and classed inequalities embedded in the NHS structure.

I therefore propose that rather than looking to the past the “save the NHS” we should be proposing an alternative political reformation of the healthcare service in the UK.

Research approach

I have taken a broad ethnographic approach where I spent time in many places to do with hips and the NHS. This included recovery wards, operation theatres, clinics, and equipment sterilisation units as well as orthopaedic and hip conferences and events, informal conversations with past patients and orthopaedic staff, NHS campaigning events and meetings, as well as the local authorities and national bodies trying to implement change.

I have also taken a historical angle to try and understand the NHS from its beginnings. I therefore followed the parallel history of hips through reading historic literature, visiting museums and websites, as well as going to visit the hospital where hips were “invented” to gather oral histories.

Finally I spent a lot of time looking at online resources and carrying out discourse analysis on key documents.

MARCH Career Re-entry Fellowship

Project summary

My current work focuses on understandings of child health, exploring the perspectives of families and healthcare providers, and the role of food and feeding practices in creating and sustaining a ‘healthy child’.

Secondary interest in the use of ethnographic approaches in process evaluation of health interventions - focus on understanding the roles of key individual actors in implementation in a specific context, and implications for scale-up/transferability.

People involved

  • Ruth Willis, Research Fellow, GHD, PHP


  • Audrey Prost, Professor of Global Health, GHD, PHP
  • Marko Kerac, Assistant Professor of Public Health Nutrition, PH, EPH

Research approach
The project took an ethnographic approach to child health practices and health care provision, in community and health system settings in the Peruvian Amazon.

Critical anthropological approach to construction and use of routine public health data.

Aiming ultimately to generate a body of comparative analysis and develop theory about how food and feeding practices relate to community and health care provider understandings of child health across low, middle and high income settings.

NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Systems and Commissioning (PRUComm)

Funded by Department of Health and Social Care NHS in England.

  • Health system governance – organisational structures, accountability, funding flows, regulation etc.
  • Use of competition and cooperation mechanisms in commissioning health care services
  • Functioning of the internal market in the NHS
  • Understanding of the rules on competition by NHS managers
  • Regulatory frameworks and actions of the regulators
  • Commissioning policy and practice
  • Institutional and policy change in the NHS

See for more information

People Involved

  • Professor Pauline Allen, Professor of Health Services Organisation, HSRP
  • Dr Marie Sanderson, Research Fellow, HSRP
  • Dr Dorota Osipovic, Research Fellow, HSRP


  • Osipovic D., Allen, P., Shepherd, E., Coleman, A., Perkins, N., Williams, L., Checkland, K. 2016. Interrogating institutional change: actors’ attitudes to competition and cooperation in commissioning health services in England. Public Administration. Volume 94, Issue 3, pp. 823–838
  • Osipovic D., 2015. Conceptualisations of welfare deservingness by Polish migrants in the UK, Journal of Social Policy, 44 (4). pp. 729-746
  • Osipovic D., 2013. ‘If I Get Ill, It’s onto the Plane, and off to Poland.’ Use of Health Care Services by Polish Migrants in London. Central and Eastern European Migration Review 2(2): 98-114
Normative Attitudes to Health Care and Social Care

Project summary

  • How do people judge other people’s deservingness to publicly funded benefits and services, in particular health care and social care?
  • How do people think public services and benefits ought to be funded and provided?
  • How do such normative social attitudes feed into the public policy making?

People Involved

Place, Need and Precarity in UK mental health care

Project summary

My thesis, entitled "Place, Need and Precarity in UK mental health care: An ethnography of access" looks ethnographically at the work it takes to include people who are seen to be excluded from mental health care; specifically, from psychotherapy services in the UK. I seek to understand how this work plays out in three voluntary sector clinics and how, in these places, needs and eligibility criteria are “done differently.”

People involved

Research approach

I orient my analysis towards moments of access, as they are enacted by those who encounter and deliver mental health services in this inner city area of London in the UK. I use ethnography and specific creative methods to engage with spatial and material aspects of accessing care, feeding into overarching ideas in my thesis on the dynamic relationship between "place" and "need’


My research aims to understand practices of inclusion, exclusion and articulations of need in particular places, in order to produce a situated and critically engaged notion of “access.” My thesis shows the ways in which the work of inclusion, in these voluntary spaces, reproduces precarity (of service providers as well as users) in the health and social care system.

Selected conference papers and publications in preparation

  • “The political and its afterlives: accounting and being accountable in ethnographies of healthcare in motion” Ethnographies & Health Network workshop: Re-politicising public health, King’s Collage London, October 2018
  • “‘No dumping!’ Space and value in voluntary mental health care in London” Valuing Health: Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology Conference, September 2018
  • When Categories Collide: Attending to the aggregation and enactment of “BME” categories in UK mental health care. Roundtable discussion paper, European Association for Social Anthropology Conference, August 2018
  • “Placing precarity: mapping im/migrant experiences of accessing psychotherapy in the UK” German Anthropological Association Conference, Berlin, October 2017
  • “The diffusion of diagnostic practices beyond clinical settings; the case of mental health care in the UK” Configurations of diagnostic processes, practices, and evidence: MAAH Conference Tromsø, June 2016

Project summary

The RECAP (Research capacity strengthening and knowledge generation to support preparedness and response to humanitarian crises and epidemics) project is a 4y (2018-2021) collaboration focusing on the health and protection sectors in humanitarian response. We do research and strengthen research capacity to help improve decision-making and accountability in response to conflict, forced displacement and epidemics. 

People involved (anthropologists and sociologists)

Melissa Parker, Professor of medical anthropology, LSHTM
Tim Allen, Professor in development anthropology, LSE
Jennifer Palmer, Assistant professor, LSHTM
Diane Duclos, Research fellow, LSHTM
Fred Martineau, Research fellow, LSHTM
Patricia Kingori, Associate professor, University of Oxford
Isabelle Lange, Research Fellow, LSHTM

RECAP Principal Investigator: Bayard Roberts, Professor at LSHTM

Aim of the project

Working in a network of key humanitarian NGOs and universities situated in regional humanitarian ‘hubs’ we aim to:

  • Document tensions and areas of good practice in democratic, evidence-informed decision-making
  • Identify solutions to ethical issues devised by frontline humanitarian staff
  • Facilitate joint knowledge production, explore how the capabilities of beneficiaries to hold humanitarian actors to account can be enhanced
  • Contribute to humanitarian guidelines, programmes and policies

Research approach

Across the 6 multi-disciplinary work packages, anthropologists are involved in exploring:

  • evidence use in humanitarian decision-making;
  • accountability frameworks and enforcement mechanisms in humanitarian settings;
  • ethical preparedness and provisioning in crises

We are conducting a series of ethnographic case studies during and after humanitarian crises in:

  1. Northern Uganda: Protection of children of ex LRA soldiers; public authority in PH for refugees; displaced healthcare workers in health system building
  2. Lebanon: Displaced healthcare workers in health system building; issue legitimisation surrounding war and births
  3. Sierra Leone: Ethical challenges at the frontlines; community health ecosystems, accountability legacies of Ebola response
  4. Bangladesh: Decision-making for preventive vaccination
  5. Afghanistan: Priority setting, approaches and evidence use in health system restructuring

Recent publications (selection):

Systematic racism and infant mortality in zip codes 76010 and 76011

Project summary

Systematic racism and infant mortality in zip codes 76010 and 76011: A photovoice approach seeks to engage community members in the research process through the application of photovoice and asset mapping.

The aim is to promote conversations around race and infant mortality by engaging black women in zip codes with high infant mortality rates to photograph their daily life, answering the question, “How do you view or experience racism in your community?”

Research approach

Photovoice is a form of community-based participatory research that involves providing community members with cameras and asking them to photograph their everyday experiences and realities on a particular topic; these photos are then used to prompt policymakers and stakeholders to mobilize around desired change.

Asset mapping engages community members as they “map” local resources that can be used for community growth and change.


The project goals are to identify institutionalized discriminatory practices and policies in the city of Arlington, Texas, and to focus city funding and policy on monitoring, addressing, and eliminating social determinants of health, particularly as they relate to race and infant mortality.

People involved

Turning a blind eye in Malawi: the strategic ignorance of the trachoma elimination 

Project summary

My research follows the translation of a multi-million pound global elimination policy for trachoma; one of the neglected tropical diseases, and the commonest infectious cause of global blindness; at national, regional and local levels in Malawi. I critically reflect on the ideas and assumptions embedded in the global and national policies, and identify how strategic ignorance is fostered in the interest of achieving the elimination goals.

People involved

Research Approach

Critical engagement with public health and anthropological literature laid the foundations for my fieldwork. I conducted ethnographic fieldwork amongst a rural population in South East Malawi, defined as a ‘hotspot’ of disease. I followed local, district and ministry of health officials working on trachoma interventions and policy. As well as participant observation, I conducted open ended interviews.


My research traces how insufficient acknowledgment of trachoma’s complexity and local specificity, creates challenges for the public health response to trachoma. I examine the political nature of various epidemiological constructs, labels, and metaphors including ‘hotspot’, ‘refusals’, and racing, showing consequences for the local realities of those experiencing the disease.


  • Gupta-Wright, M. (2019). Multipositionality and ‘Inbetweenness’: Reflections on Ethnographic Fieldwork in Malawi; Ch 4 In Johnstone, L. Editor The Politics of Conducting Research in Africa: Ethical and Emotional Challenges in the Field, Palgrave Macmillan
Scientific Papers
Publications List
Fertility regulation as identity maintenance: Understanding the social aspects of birth control.
Marston C, Renedo A, Nyaaba GN.
Journal of Health Psychology, 23(2):240-51.
Experience as Evidence: The Dialogic Construction of Health Professional Knowledge through Patient Involvement.
Renedo A, Komporozos-Athanasiou A, Marston C.
Sociology-the Journal of the British Sociological Association, 52(4):778-95.
Diverse bodies: the challenge of new theoretical approaches to medical anthropology
S Cohn, R Lynch
Anthropology & medicine, 24 (2), 131-141
Falling into a routine: from habits to situated practices
S Cohn, R Lynch
Sociology of health & illness 39 (8), 1398-1411
Sex in the digital city: location-based dating apps and queer urban life.
Miles S.
Gender, Place & Culture, 24(11):1595-1610
The regulation of competition in the National Health Service (NHS): what difference has the Health and Social Care Act 2012 made?
Marie Sanderson, Pauline Allen and Dorota Osipovic
Health Economics, Policy and Law, 12: 1-19
Interrogating institutional change: Actors' attitudes to competition and cooperation in commissioning health services in England
Osipovič, D; P. Allen; E.Shepherd; A.Coleman, N. Perkins, L. Williams, M. Sanderson, K. Checkland
Public Administration.94 (3): 823–38.
Spaces for Citizen Involvement in Healthcare: An Ethnographic Study.
Renedo A, Marston C.,
Sociology-the Journal of the British Sociological Association, 49(3):488-504.
Conceptualisations of welfare deservingness by Polish migrants in the UK
Osipovic D.
Journal of Social Policy, 44 (4). pp. 729-746.