Writing well in the social sciences: Recommended readings

The following list contains books and papers that colleagues on Twitter suggested for students to read about writing well in the social sciences. Thank you to all who submitted recommendations! If you would like to include a title, please email me at barbara.prainsack@univie.ac.at or get in touch on Twitter.

Here is the list!

(a) How to write well in the social sciences (all disciplines) [scroll down for specific lists on anthropology, ethnography, qualitative scholarship, and specific formats such as grant proposals]

Bammer, A., & Joeres, R. E. B. (Eds.). (2015). The future of scholarly writing: Critical interventions. Springer. [esp. chapter by Carolyn Steedman]

Barrass, R. (2005). Scientists Must Write: A guide to better writing for scientists, engineers and students. Routledge.

Barley, S. R. (2006). When I write my masterpiece: Thoughts on what makes a paper interesting. Academy of Management Journal49(1), 16-20.

Becker, H. S. (2008). Writing for social scientists: How to start and finish your thesis, book, or article. University of Chicago Press.

Billig, M. (2013). Learn to write badly: How to succeed in the social sciences. Cambridge University Press.

Cargill, M. & O’Connor, P. (2009). Writing Scientific Research Articles: Strategy and Steps. Wiley-Blackwell.

Cochrane, J. (2005) H. Writing tips for Ph. D. students. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago. Available at: https://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/john.cochrane/research/papers/phd_paper_writing.pdf

Dunleavy, P. (2003). Authoring a PhD: How to plan, draft, write and finish a doctoral dissertation or thesis. Palgrave Macmillan.

Eco, U. (2015). How to write a thesis. MIT Press.

Fallon, H. (2009). The academic writing toolkit: Writing for professional and peer-reviewed journals. SCONUL Focus, 45, 66-71.

Fenton, N. (2018). Improving your technical writing skills. Available at: http://www.eecs.qmul.ac.uk/~norman/papers/good_writing/Technical%20writing.pdf

Fine, G. (1988). The Ten Commandments of Writing. The American Sociologist, Summer, 152-157.

Forsyth, M. (2013). The elements of eloquence: How to turn the perfect English phrase. Icon Books Ltd.

Franklin, M. I. (2012). Understanding research: Coping with the quantitative-qualitative divide. Routledge.

Greenhalgh, T. (2019). Twitter Women’s Tips on Academic Writing: A Female Response to Gioia’s Rules of the Game. Journal of Management Inquiry28(4), 484-487.

Grey, C., & Sinclair, A. (2006). Writing differently. Organization13(3), 443-453.

Haynes, A. (2010). Writing successful academic books. Cambridge University Press.

Hartley, J. (2008). Academic writing and publishing: A practical handbook. Routledge.

Katz. M. (2009). From Research to Manuscript: A Guide to Scientific Writing. Springer.

Lamott, A., 1995. Bird by bird: Some instructions on writing and life. Anchor.

Le Guin, U. K. (2004). The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination. Shambhala Publications.

Leech, N. L., Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Combs, J. P. (2011). Writing publishable mixed research articles: Guidelines for emerging scholars in the health sciences and beyond. International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches5(1), 7-24.

Lupton, D. (1997). Doctors on the medical profession. Sociology of Health & Illness19(4), 480-497.

McCloskey, D. N. (1998) The rhetoric of economics. Univ of Wisconsin Press.

Miller, B. & Paola, S. (2005). Tell It Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction. McGraw-Hill.

Murray, R. (2005). Writing for Academic Journals. Open University Press.

Murray, R. & Moore, S. (2006). The Handbook of Academic Writing: A fresh approach. McGraw-Hill.

O’Connor, M. (2003). Writing Successfully in Science. E& FN Spon.

Orwell, G. (1946). Politics and the English language. Available at: http://www.public-library.uk/ebooks/72/30.pdf

Peat, J. (2002). Scientific Writing: Easy when you know how. BMJ Books.

Piantanida, M. (2006). The authority to imagine: The struggle toward representation in dissertation writing. Peter Lang.

Pinker, S. (2014). Why academics stink at writing. Chronicle of Higher Education26.

Powner, L. C. (2014). Empirical research and writing: A political science student’s practical guide. CQ Press.

Prose, F. (2012). Reading like a writer: A guide for people who love books and for those who want to write them. Union Books.

Pyrczak, F. (2016). Writing empirical research reports: A basic guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences. Routledge.

Reid, N. (2018). Getting published in international journals: Writing strategies for European social scientists. Revised edition. Professional Publications Press.

Roman, K., & Raphaelson, J. (2010). Writing that works: How to communicate effectively in business. Harper Collins.

Silvia. P. (2007). How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to productive academic writing. APA.

Silvia, P. (2015). Write it up: Practical strategies for writing and publishing journal articles. American Psychological Association.

Strunk, W. (2007). The elements of style. Penguin.

Squirrell, T. (2019). How to write better essays (updated edition). Available at: https://www.timsquirrell.com/blog/tim-squirrell-how-to-write-better-essays

Sword, H. (2012). Stylish academic writing. Harvard University Press.

Sword, H. (2017). Air & light & time & space: How successful academics write. Harvard University Press.

Tsing, A., & Ebron, P. (2015). Writing and rhythm: call and response with Anna Tsing and Paulla Ebron. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute21(3), 683-687.

Williams, J. M. (2007). Style: Lessons in clarity and grace. Longman Publishing Group.

Woodford, W. P. (1999). Writing a journal article, dissertation, or research-grant proposal – Steps for graduate students and others. CBE VIEWS, 22(1), 12-13.

VanHeuvelen, J. S. (2019). Isolation or interaction: healthcare provider experience of design change. Sociology of health & illness41(4), 692-708.

Zinsser, W. (2006). On writing well: The classic guide to writing nonfiction. Harper Collins.

(b) How to write well in anthropology & ethnography:

Atkinson, P. (2013). Ethnographic writing, the Avant-Garde and a Failure of Nerve. International Review of Qualitative Research, 6(1), 19-35.

Boellstorff, T. (2008). How to Get an Article Accepted at American Anthropologist (or Anywhere). American Anthropologist, 110(3), 281–283.

Bouchetoux, F. (2013). Writing Anthropology: A call for uninhibited methods. Palgrave Macmillan.

Fiske, J. (1991). Writing ethnographies: Contribution to a dialogue, Quarterly Journal of Speech, 77:3, 330-335.

Goodall Jr., H.L. (2000) – Writing the New Ethnography. Altamira Press.

Humphreys, M., & Watson, T. J. (2009). Ethnographic practices: from ‘writing-up ethnographic research’to ‘writing ethnography’. In: Ybema S., Yanow D., Wels H., & Kamsteeg F.H. (eds). Organizational Ethnography: studying the complexities of everyday life. Sage. 40-55.

Lahiri, S.; Mahmud, L. & Herron, J. (orgs.) (2010). A student’s guide to reading and writing in social anthropology. Harvard College.

Lillis, T. (2008). Ethnography as Method, Methodology, and_Deep Theorizing: Closing the Gap Between Text and Context in Academic writing research. Written Communication, 25(3). 353-388.

Van Maanen, J. (2011). Tales of the field: On writing ethnography. University of Chicago Press.

Monteagudo, J. (2013). Writing Ethnographic and Auto-biographical approaches: Old and New challenges. Miradas, 11, 94-102.

O’Hare, P. (2007). Getting down to writing up. Navigating from the field to the desk and the (re)presentation of fieldwork. Anthropology Matters Journal, 9(2), 1-9.

Yarrow, T., & Degnen, C. (n.d.) Writing Across Boundaries. Available at: https://www.dur.ac.uk/writingacrossboundaries/

(c) Specific to qualitative scholarship:

Belgrave, L.; Zablotsky, D. & Guadagno, M. (2002). How do we talk to each other: Writing qualitative research for quantitative readers. Qualitative Health Research, 12(10), 1427-1439.

Ely, M.; Vinz, R.; Downing, M. & Anzul, M. & (1997). On Writing Qualitative Research: Living by Words. The Falmer Press.

Richardson, L. (2000). New writing practices in qualitative research. Sociology of Sport Journal, 17, 5-20.

van Manen, M. (2006). Writing Qualitatively, or the Demands of Writing. Qual Health Research; 16; 713-22.

Sandelowski, M. (1998). Writing a good read: Strategies for Re-Presenting Qualitative Data. Research in Nursing & Health, 21, 375-382.

Woods. P. (2006). Successful Writing for Qualitative Researchers. Routledge.

Wolcott, H.F. (1990). Writing up qualitative research. NY: Sage.

Wolcott, H. F. (2002). Writing up qualitative research… better. Qualitative health research12(1), 91-103.

(d) Specific formats (e.g. grant proposals, dissertations):

Cohen, M. Z., Knafl, K., & Dzurec, L. C. (1993). Grant writing for qualitative research. Image: the Journal of Nursing Scholarship25(2), 151-156.

Fabian, J. (2002). Virtual Archives and Ethnographic Writing: “Commentary” as a New Genre. Current Anthropology, 43(5), 775-86.

Friedland, A. & Folt, C. (2009). Writing Successful Science Proposals. Yale University Press.

Przeworski, A., & Salomon, F. (1995). The art of writing proposals. Available at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/ssrc-cdn1/crmuploads/new_publication_3/the-art-of-writing-proposals.pdf

Richmond, K. (2019). Presentation on classical rhetoric, available here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338170100_Classical_rhetoric

Sandelowski, M. & Barroso, J. (2003). Writing the proposal for a qualitative research methodology project. Qualitative Health Research, 13(6), 781-820.

Health Policy Reading List: Books that have changed our practice and thinking

I was in the process of putting together a reading list for a group of doctoral students who are working on various aspects of health policy and had written down the papers and books that had changed my own practice and thinking. I was wondering what the books and papers where that had had the biggest impact on the work and practice of other colleagues and posted this question on Twitter. The following list (which I will keep up-to-date) includes all the suggestions that I received (a big thank you to Mirjam Pot for her help with the compilation).

Please note that I have not edited this list in any way, e.g. to ensure that all titles are directly relevant to health policy, that the list is inclusive, etc. I list all suggestions that I receive. Thank you to all who responded; if you would like to include a title, please email me at barbara.prainsack@univie.ac.at or get in touch on Twitter.

The Health Policy Reading List

Adichie, C. N. (2017). Dear Ijeawele, or a feminist manifesto in fifteen suggestions. Anchor.

Alexander, J. C. (2013). The dark side of modernity. John Wiley & Sons.

Alexander, M. (2011). The New Jim Crow. Ohio St. J. Crim. L.9, 7.

Avendano, M., Glymour, M. M., Banks, J., & Mackenbach, J. P. (2009). Health disadvantage in US adults aged 50 to 74 years: a comparison of the health of rich and poor Americans with that of Europeans. American journal of public health, 99(3), 540-548.

Bacchi, C. L. (1999). Women, policy and politics: The construction of policy problems. Sage.

Ball, S. J., Maguire, M., & Braun, A. (2011). How schools do policy: Policy enactments in secondary schools. Routledge.

Ball, S. J. (2016). Following policy: Networks, network ethnography and education policy mobilities. Journal of Education Policy, 31(5), 549-566.

Becker, H. S. (Ed.). (2002). Boys in white: Student culture in medical school. Transaction Publishers.

Beresford, P. (2016). All our welfare: Towards participatory social policy. Policy press.

Beresford, P., Green, D., Lister, R., & Woodard, K. (1999). Poverty first hand: Poor people speak for themselves. London: Cpag.

Bevan, A. (2018). In place of fear. Read Books Ltd.

Bhaskar, R. (2013). A realist theory of science. Routledge.

Bhaskar, R. (2014). The possibility of naturalism: A philosophical critique of the contemporary human sciences. Routledge.

Black, D. (1980). Inequalities in Health: Report of a Research Working Group. DHSS, London.

Bosk, C. L. (2003). Forgive and remember: managing medical failure. University of Chicago Press.

Britnell, M. (2015). In search of the perfect health system. Macmillan International Higher Education.

Brown, B. (2015). Daring greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead. Penguin.

Butler, J. (2011). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. Routledge.

Cairney, P. (2016). The politics of evidence-based policy making. Springer.

Charmaz, K. (1993). Good days, bad days: The self in chronic illness and time. Rutgers University Press.

Charon, R. (2008). Narrative medicine: Honoring the stories of illness. Oxford University Press.

Childress, J. F., & Beauchamp, T. L. (1994). Principles of biomedical ethics (pp. 197-199). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Clarke, J., Newman, J., Smith, N., Vidler, E., & Westmarland, L. (2007). Creating citizen-consumers: Changing publics and changing public services. Pine Forge Press.

Clarke, A. E., Shim, J. K., Mamo, L., Fosket, J. R., & Fishman, J. R. (eds.) (2010). Biomedicalization: Technoscientific transformations of health, illness, and US biomedicine. Duke University Press.

Clavier, C., & de Leeuw, E. (Eds.). (2013). Health promotion and the policy process. OUP Oxford.

Colgrove, J. (2016). Vaccine refusal revisited: The limits of public health persuasion and coercion. The New England Journal of Medicine, 375:1316-1317.

Cooper, M., & Waldby, C. (2014). Clinical labor: Tissue donors and research subjects in the  global bioeconomy. Duke University Press.

Cottam, H. (2018). Radical help: How we can remake the relationships between us and revolutionise the welfare state. Hachette UK.

Crisp, L. N. (2010). Turning the world upside down: the search for global health in the 21st century. CRC Press.

Cronin, A. J. (2015). The Citadel: A Novel. Rosetta Books.

Desmond, M. (2016). Evicted: Poverty and profit in the American city. Broadway Books.

Donabedian, A. (2002). An introduction to quality assurance in health care. Oxford University Press.

Dumit, J. (2012). Drugs for life: how pharmaceutical companies define our health. Duke University Press.

Dunne, P. (2017). Transgender sterilisation requirements in Europe. Medical law review25(4), 554-581.

Dussauge, I., Helgesson, C. F., & Lee, F. (Eds.). (2015). Value practices in the life sciences and medicine. Oxford University Press, USA.

Eddo-Lodge, R. (2018). Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Epstein, S. (2008). Inclusion: The politics of difference in medical research. University of Chicago Press.

Ericsson, A., & Pool, R. (2016). Peak: Secrets from the new science of expertise. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Evans, I., Thornton, H., Chalmers, I., & Glasziou, P. (2011). Testing treatments: better research for better healthcare. Pinter & Martin Publishers.

Flanigan, J. (2017). Pharmaceutical freedom: Why patients have a right to self medicate. Oxford University Press.

Foucault, M. (1973). The birth of the clinic. Routledge.

Foucault, M. (1989). Madness and civilization: A history of insanity in the age of reason. Routledge.

Frankl, V. E. (1985). Man’s search for meaning. Simon and Schuster.

Freidson, E. (1988). Profession of medicine: a study of the sociology of applied knowledge. University of Chicago Press.

Fry, H. (2018). Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine. Random House.

Gawande, A. (2014). Being mortal: medicine and what matters in the end. Metropolitan Books.

Gawande, A., & America, B. A. (2007). Better: A surgeon’s notes on performance (pp. 201-230). Profile.

Gigerenzer, G., & Gray, J. A. (2011). Better doctors, better patients, better decisions: Envisioning health care 2020. The MIT Press.

Gilbert, D. (2019). The Patient Revolution: How We Can Heal the Healthcare System. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Gilbert, S. M., & Gubar, S. (1980). The madwoman in the attic: The woman writer and the nineteenth-century literary imagination. Yale University Press.

Goldberg, D., & Huxley, P. (2012). Mental illness in the community: the pathway to psychiatric care. Routledge.

Grey, M. (2011). How to get better value healthcare? Offox Press.

Harrison, S., & Pollitt, C. (1994). Controlling health professionals: the future of work and organization in the National Health Service. Open University Press.

Hart, J. T. (2010). The political economy of health care: Where the NHS came from and where it could lead. Policy Press.

Hart, J. T. (1971). The inverse care law. The Lancet, 297(7696), 405-412.

Hawking, S. (2018). Brief answers to the big questions. Bantam.

Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. Macmillan.

Kalanithi, P. (2016). When breath becomes air. Random House.

Kay, A. (2017). This is going to hurt: secret diaries of a junior doctor. Pan Macmillan.

Latour, B., & Woolgar, S. (2013). Laboratory life: The construction of scientific facts. Princeton University Press.

Lea, T. (2008). Bureaucrats and bleeding hearts: Indigenous health in Northern Australia. UNSW Press.

Leonelli, S. (2016). Data-centric biology: A philosophical study. University of Chicago Press.

Levitin, D. J. (2014). The organized mind: Thinking straight in the age of information overload. Penguin.

Loughlin, M. (2002). On the buzzword approach to policy formation. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice8(2), 229-242.

Marmot, M. (2015). The health gap: the challenge of an unequal world. Bloomsbury Academic.

Martin, E. (1994). Flexible bodies: Tracking immunity in American culture from the days of polio to the age of AIDS. Beacon Press.

Martin, G. P. (2008). ‘Ordinary people only’: knowledge, representativeness, and the publics of public participation in healthcare. Sociology of health & illness, 30(1), 35-54.

Marx, K. (2004). Capital: A critique of political economy. Penguin UK.

May, C., & Finch, T. (2009). Implementing, embedding, and integrating practices: an outline of normalization process theory. Sociology, 43(3), 535-554.

McCartney, M. (2013). The patient paradox. Pinter & Martin Publishers.

McGarvey, D. (2018). Poverty safari: Understanding the anger of Britain’s underclass. Picador.

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world. Penguin.

McGuinness, S. (2013). Law, reproduction, and disability: fatally ‘handicapped’?. Medical Law Review, 21(2), 213-242.

McIntyre, D., & Mooney, G. (Eds.). (2007). The economics of health equity. Cambridge University Press.

McKnight, J., & McKnight, J. (1995). The careless society: Community and its counterfeits. Basic Books.

Miletzki, J., & Broten, N. (2017). Development as freedom. Macat Library.

Mol, A. (2008). The logic of care: Health and the problem of patient choice. Routledge.

Mol, A. (2002). The body multiple. Duke University Press.

Mooney, G. (2012). The health of nations: Towards a new political economy. Zed Books Ltd.

Naffine, N. (2009). Law’s meaning of life: philosophy, religion, Darwin and the legal person. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Navarro, V. (2002). The political economy of social inequalities: consequences for health and quality of life. Routledge.

Nettleton, S. (1997). Governing the risky self: How to become healthy, wealthy, and wise. In: Petersen & R. Bunton (eds.), Foucault, health and medicine, 207-222. Routledge.

Lock, M., & Nguyen, V. K. (2018). An anthropology of biomedicine. John Wiley & Sons.

Otis Webb Brawley, M. D., & Goldberg, P. (2012). How we do harm: a doctor breaks ranks about being sick in America. St. Martin’s Press.

Oudshoorn, N. (2003). The male pill. Duke University Press.

Pickett, K., & Wilkinson, R. (2010). The spirit level: Why equality is better for everyone. Penguin UK.

Pearl, J., & Mackenzie, D. (2018). The book of why: the new science of cause and effect. Basic Books.

Petryna, A., Lakoff, A., & Kleinman, A. (Eds.). (2006). Global pharmaceuticals. Duke University Press.

Polanyi, K. (2001). The great transformation: The political and economic origins of our time. Beacon press.

Popper, K. (2005). The logic of scientific discovery. Routledge.

Porter, M. E., & Teisberg, E. O. (2006). Redefining health care: creating value-based competition on results. Harvard Business Press.

Prainsack, B. (2017). Personalized Medicine: Empowered Patients in the 21st Century?. NYU Press.

Rajan, K. S. (2006). Biocapital: The constitution of postgenomic life. Duke University Press.

Reardon, J. (2017). The Postgenomic Condition: Ethics, justice, and knowledge after the genome. University of Chicago Press.

Rein, M., & Schön, D. (1994). Frame reflection: Toward the resolution of intractable policy controversies. New York: Basic Book.

Rose, N. (2007). The politics of life itself: Biomedicine, power, and subjectivity in the twenty first century. Princeton University Press.

Scheper-Hughes, N. (1993). Death without weeping: The violence of everyday life in Brazil. University of California Press.

Schrecker, T., & Bambra, C. (2015). How politics makes us sick: Neoliberal epidemics. Springer.

Shore, C., & Wright, S. (Eds.). (2003). Anthropology of policy: Perspectives on governance and power. Routledge.

Singer, P. (2017). Ethics in the Real World: 87 Brief Essays on Things that Matter. Text Publishing.

Singer, P., & Kuhse, H. (1990). Individuals, humans and persons: The issue of moral status. Embryo Experimentation, Ethical, Legal and Social Issues, 63-75.

Stone, D.A. (1997). Policy paradox: The art of political decision making. Norton.

Syed, M. (2015). Black Box Thinking: the surprising truth about success. Hachette UK.

Tabarki, F. (2017). The end of the middle: What a society of extremes means for people, politics and business. Warden Press.

Thompson, C. (2005). Making parents: The ontological choreography of reproductive technologies. MIT press.

Timmins, N. (2001). The five giants: a biography of the welfare state. HarperCollins.

Titmuss, R. (2018). The gift relationship (reissue): From human blood to social policy. Policy Press.

Turner, B.S. (1996). The body and society: explorations in social theory. Sage.

Wahlberg, A. (2015). Knowledge of living. Somatosphere: Science, Medicine, and Anthropology. http://somatosphere.net/2014/knowledge-of-living.html/

Waldby, C. (2003). The visible human project: Informatic bodies and posthuman medicine. Routledge.

Walt, G. (1994). Health Policy, process and power. London: Zed.


Join our launch event! 15 November 2018

Do our societies need more solidarity? Can solidarity, as an organising principle for policies and institutions, help to address key societal challenges such as the reform of healthcare systems and the increase of social disparities? These questions will be at the centre of a one-day event marking the launch of a new research group at the University of Vienna led by Professor Barbara Prainsack.

The event will consist of two parts: Part I (9.30am-4pm) will take place in English and feature talks by the members of the Research Group, the (external) co-director Professor Alena Buyx, as well as our international Advisory Board, including Professor Carol Gould (CUNY), Professor Linsey McGoey (Essex), Professor David Townend (Maastricht), and Bernard Dichek(documentary maker, Israel). Part II, starting at 4.30pm, will take place in German. The Keynotes will be held by the renowned author and charity expert Dr Auma Obama and the Chairman of the German Ethics Council, Professor Peter Dabrock. The event will be concluded by a reception, ending at 8pm.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Nina Spurny by sending an e-mail to admin.politikwissenschaft@univie.ac.at.
If you can come for only part of the day we would be grateful if you could indicate that.

Event details

What: Solidarity in research and practice – why now? Launch event of the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Solidarity (CeSCoS)
When: Thu., 15 November 2018 | 9.30-8pm
Where: Saal der Labstelle | entrance: Wollzeile 1, 1010 Wien/Vienna

  • 9.00    Arrival and Reception
  • 9.30 – 12.30    Introductory Talks• Welcome: Why Solidarity Now?
    Barbara Prainsack, University of Vienna
    Alena Buyx, Technical University Munich• The Role of Solidarity in Political Theory
    Carol Gould, City University of New York

    • Solidarity and Current Political Economy 
    Linsey McGoey, University of Essex

  • 13.30 – 14.30    Spot Lights: Solidarity in Research and Practice• Solidarity and the Law
    David Townend, Maastricht University• Artists for Art and Artists
    Bernard Dichek, filmmaker and journalist, Israel
  • 16.00    Coffee Break

End of English-speaking part

  • 16.30    Beginning of German-speaking partTalks by:
    • Auma Obama, CARE International
    • Peter Dabrock, Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • 19.00    Reception
  • 20.00    End of event

Programm as PDF.

 Workshop with Advisory Board Members for early-career-researchers 16.11.2018

On the day following the launch event, 16 November, there will be an opportunity for early-career-researchers to discuss their project with the speakers of the event. If you are a pre- or post-doctoral researcher and would like to apply, please send a short application (2 page maximum) containing your research question, your methods, the data you (will) collect, and what type of results you hope to obtain, to Nina Spurny by 1 August 2018 at the latest. Please put “workshop 16 November 2018″ in the subject line. We will notify you whether your application was successful by 1 September 2018.

Organising Committee

Barbara Prainsack, University of Vienna

Alena Buyx, Technical University Munich

Katharina Kieslich, University of Vienna


Our new book is out!


Our new book, Solidarity in Biomedicine and Beyond, was published by Cambridge University Press (codes for discounts are available here). The book is rooted in the work that we carried out for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in 2011 but expands and revises it significantly; it includes new chapters on the normative value of solidarity, on solidarity in the social sciences and social theory, as well as three new case studies: personalised healthcare, database governance, and organ donation.

A big thank you to Daniel Callahan and Barbara Koenig, who both have been huge inspirations for our work, for their praise of our book:

Solidarity In Biomedicine and Beyond effectively takes on and combines two complex issues of our times. How ought we best understand the idea of human solidarity in the face of cultural trends that separate and often badly divide us? And how best to bring that understanding to bear on the great challenges, for good or ill, of the rapid and consequential changes for health care of progress in genetics and other rapidly changing technologies? Prainsack and Buyx’ insights and careful analysis take us a long way down a winding modern road into the future.

Daniel Callahan, President Emeritus, The Hastings Center

At a challenging political moment, Barbara Prainsack and Alena Buyx offer an approach to bioethics based on an appeal to solidarity as a core guiding concept. Their account is both descriptive and prescriptive, grounded firmly in practice. Moving beyond an unproductive dichotomy between personal and common benefit, their book promises an alternative to the impoverished accounts of human connectedness informed only by the logic of the market. The authors reveal the limits of an exclusive, ritualistic focus on autonomy-based health policies, offering a productive way forward.

Barbara Koenig, Professor of Medical Anthropology & Bioethics, and Director, UCSF Bioethics

“Solidarity” symposium at IAB 2016 in Edinburgh

We organised a symposium on “In It Together? The Role of Solidarity in Promoting Public Interests in Biomedicine and Public Health” at the International Association of Bioethics (IAB) conference in Edinburgh in 2016. Speakers were: Professor Bruce Jennings; Professor Marcel Verweij; Dr Peter West-Oram; and Professor Barbara Koenig.

You can listen to the podcast of the symposium here; the abstract is below.

And here is a presentation that Alena Buyx gave at the IAB on “Public Interest and the Concept of Solidarity”: alena-buyx-2016-iab-edinburgh

In It Together? The Role of Solidarity in Promoting Public Interests in Biomedicine and Public Health

Solidarity has gained currency in the bioethical literature in recent years. Against the backdrop of global economic and political crisis, climate change, and violent conflict, there seems to be the need for a concept that foregrounds mutual support a sense of belonging between people. But the rise of solidarity also has outspoken critics: They see solidarity as a threat to individual autonomy and freedom, as a toothless and vague concept, or as a superfluous notion that refers to claims or phenomena that can just as well be described in other terms. This panel, bringing together scholars who have conceptualised and used the notion of solidarity in bioethics, sets out to explore why, if at all, we need solidarity. Speakers will explore the following questions:

– Does solidarity have specific analytical value that other terms have not?
– Can we derive normative specific claims from solidarity, and if so, which ones?
– What differences can solidarity make in practice?




A solidarity-based perspective on organ donation (KCL/UCL Joint Bioethics Colloquium, 5 Feb 2015)

On 5 Feb we had the pleasure to speak about our work on solidarity at the KCL/UCL Joint Bioethics Colloquium organised by Annette Rid (KCL) and James Wilson (UCL). We presented our ongoing conceptual work, and a new case study on organ donation which will be included in our forthcoming book (Cambridge University Press, 2016). We would like to thank everybody who came to our talk and especially those colleagues and friends who e-mailed us afterwards; your comments are gratefully appreciated!

Solidarity – A project for the 21st century

In 2011, we started our work on solidarity in the context of a project titled Solidarity: Reflections on an Emerging Concept in Bioethics. The project was commissioned by the UK Nuffield Council on Bioethics and funded by the British AHRC and The Nuffield Foundation. The main output of this project was a Report in which we proposed a new definition of solidarity and applied it to policy making in the areas of biobanks, pandemics and lifestyle disease.

Since then, we have developed our work on solidarity further, engaged in dialogues with other colleagues, and applied our approach to solidarity on a wider range of fields and cases. We are currently working on a book to show in more detail how a focus on solidarity can help us find new ways of thinking and addressing some of the key challenges of our time, within and beyond the field of health and bioethics.

A full list of our publications can be found in the ‘About us / publications‘ section of this blog.

If you are interested in solidarity as an academic, practitioner, student, patient, or in fact in any capacity, we would love to hear from you.

Barbara Prainsack & Alena Buyx

barbara.prainsack@kcl.ac.uk | a.buyx@iem.uni-kiel.de