The Sociology of Neuroscience: A Call for Papers

Volume 11 of “Advances in Medical Sociology” will be dedicated to the theme Sociological Reflections on Neuroscience. You should send abstracts detailing potential contributions by next Monday, February 15th, 2010. Details on abstract submission are at the bottom of the post.

Sociological Reflections on Neuroscience will be edited by Ira van Keulen (Rathenau Institute) and Martyn Pickersgill (University of Edinburgh). Here’s the call for papers:

The Advances in Medical Sociology book series seeks submissions for a new volume on sociological reflections on the neurosciences. Neuroscience is an increasingly influential and prestigious branch of biomedicine, gaining ever more traction within a variety of policy, professional and public cultures. In some respects, neuroscientific ideas and concepts are replacing genetics as a paradigm for understanding the body, the mind and social order, and the relationships between these domains.

Neuroscience therefore demands attention from sociologists. However, to-date, debate around the ‘new brain sciences’ has been limited within sociology, and it has mostly been ethicists who have opened up discussions on the important ethical and epistemological issues neuroscience raises. As a consequence, many of the discussions on the social, ethical, legal and policy implications of the rapidly growing field of the neurosciences have been primarily speculative and theoretical. Thus for this volume of Advances in Medical Sociology: Sociological Reflections on Neuroscience we are specifically looking for articles based on empirical research, from socio-historical analysis to ethnographic research, from surveys to in-depth interviews.

This edited volume of Advances in Medical Sociology aims to be a benchmark text in sociological analyses of neuroscientific research and practice. Accordingly, we call for papers addressing a wide variety of issues pertaining to the sociology of neuroscience, including – but not limited to – the following topics:

1 Knowledge representation in (medical) neuroimaging studies.

2 Changing perceptions of neurological conditions (e.g. Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease) and ‘cognitive functions’ (e.g. attention, memory) within the clinic and in wider society.

3 The neuroscientific (re)construction of psychopathology (e.g. autism, ADHD, depression).

4 The links between neuroscience, clinical practice and subjectivity (including the politics and meanings of ‘neurodiversity’).

5 The rise of novel clinical neurotechnologies (e.g. neurofeedback, deep brain stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation).

6 Representations of the (diseased) brain within and beyond the media.

7 Changing perceptions of the mind-body relationship.

8 The governance and regulation of medical neuroimaging (including the development and implementation of clinical neuroethics).

9 The international production and flow of neuroscientific concepts, knowledge and technology.

10 Neuroscientific understandings of ‘sociological’ terms and concepts such as gender and racism.

This list should be treated as suggestive rather than prescriptive, and we welcome papers that with other germane issues (such as the degree to which longstanding sociological concepts like ‘biographical disruption’ and ‘medicalisation’ have explanatory or descriptive power in thinking about neuroscience, and the potential contribution neuroscience might make to sociology).

Potential contributors should email a 300-500 word abstract by Monday February 15th 2010 to: Informal enquiries to this address are also welcome. Name and institutional affiliation of author(s) should also be supplied, including full contact details of the main author. Proposals will be reviewed by the editors, and authors notified by 5th April. The deadline for full submissions (7500-8500 words) will be 1st September. Publication of the volume is expected in late 2011.

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