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Rethinking Medical Sociology

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

  • Dr Brigit McWade - Speaker
  • Ali Meghji - Organiser
  • Saskia Papadakis - Organiser
  • Meghan Tinsley - Organiser


Presented work in progress for a chapter for an edited collection, edited by Ali Meghji, Saskia Papadakis and Meghan Tinsley

Abstract for book chapter
This chapter will explore the history and contemporary practice of medical sociology. Decolonising a discipline requires attention to its sub-fields and their specific learning environments. Writing from my experiences of teaching undergraduate medical students, I outline disciplinary specific challenges of decolonising Sociology out with a traditional sociology department. Medical education is a key site of nationalist knowledge production; medical students are trained at universities and in the NHS, where they are expected to work once graduated. Medical education is governed by the General Medical Council, who require medical graduates to demonstrate skills in applying Sociology to clinical practice. In practice Sociology accounts for 8.5% of teaching and learning time, and medical students need the full 5 years degree to appreciate the relevance of sociology to their future clinical practice. Tensions emerge as students are both taught about ‘race’ as an arbitrary social classification emerging from colonial science, and to prescribe different medications according to skin colour.
Growing medical student activism has led changes to the medical curriculum, e.g. adding dermatology resources for diagnosing signs and symptoms on black and brown skin, and there is more to do that requires new research and changes in clinical guidelines. This chapter will argue that there is impetus for medical sociologists to explore the colonial legacies of their own discipline, and exploit the unique interdisciplinary opportunity medical education offers to improve healthcare for racially minoritized patients / clinicians through decolonisation and anti-racist practice in teaching and research.

Event (Workshop)

TitleRethinking British Sociology