This page is devoted to a primary area of my current intellectual and research pursuits: Health Social Movements (HSM). Brown and colleagues (2010) defined HSM as “informal networks comprised of an array of formal and informal organizations, supporters, networks of cooperation, and media that mobilize specifically in response to issues of healthcare policy and politics, medical research and practice, and medical and scientific belief systems. In doing so, health social movements challenge political power, professional authority, and personal and collective identity” (p.382).
Stop by for updates with news stories, challenging questions, and various blurbs from across the web on a variety of topics.
Homegrown Science and New Forms of Peer Review [posted 01/18/2012]
A significant part of HSM involves how citizens, and professionals sympathetic to their cause, validate the knowledge they produce through observation and “citizen science.” This poses very interesting and unique questions for sociologists: how does information about health get validated if it falls outside of mainstream scientific evaluation criteria? Is this knowledge useful, valuable, insightful, and should it be disseminated? Is knowledge that is produced outside of expert peer review potentially dangerous? Is it valid even if it cannot be supported by mainstream scientific evidence or the scientific method? These are questions precisely within the domain of the sociologist.
Here are a few stories and links from around the web that touch on this issue: