Medical Sociology and Technology: Critical Engagements

Monica J. Casper, Daniel R. Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


In this selective review of the literature on medical sociology’s engagement with technology, we outline the concurrent developments of the American Sociological Association section on medicine and advances in medical treatment. We then describe theoretical and epistemological issues with scholars’ treatment of technology in medicine. Using symbolic interactionist concepts, as well as work from the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies, we review and synthesize critical connections in and across sociology’s intellectual relationship with medical technology. Next, we discuss key findings in these literatures, noting a shift from a focus on the effects of technology on practice to a reconfiguration of human bodies.We also look toward the future, focusing on connections between technoscientific identities and embodied health movements. Finally, we call for greater engagement by medical sociologists in studying medical technology and the process of policy-making—two areas central to debates in health economics and public policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S120-S132
JournalJournal of health and social behavior
Issue number1_suppl
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • biopolitics
  • bodies
  • embodied health movements
  • epistemology
  • feminist science and technology studies
  • medical practice
  • symbolic interactionism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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