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J Ment Health. 2010 Aug;19(4):382-92. doi: 10.3109/09638230903531092.

Psyche, soma, and science studies: new directions in the sociology of mental health and illness.

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Public Health Sciences Section, Division of Community Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9AG, Scotland, UK.



With the expanding scope of scientific and technological discourse within psychiatry, social scientists need new theoretical tools to grapple with the complex links between psychiatry, science and society. Benefit may be afforded through engagement with the discipline of science and technology studies (STS), which is concerned explicitly with the relationships between science and society.


To highlight existing engagements between STS and the sociology of (mental) health, and to encourage researchers to consider ways in which insights from these traditions may be developed further through interdisciplinary debate and analysis.


Some of the key works in STS and the sociology of mental illness that use the empirical or theoretical writings of the other were reviewed and appraised.


Whilst it is clear that some research synthesizing insights from STS and the sociology of mental health exists, this is currently limited.


Sociologists and others concerned with longstanding and emergent issues in mental health might usefully familiarize themselves with some work in STS. A new sociology of psychiatric knowledge production and application represents an important way forward.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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