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Call for Papers: Social Science & Medicine Special Issue


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Special Issue: New directions in health-environment research
For publication in: Social Science & Medicine
Co-editors: Brian King (Pennsylvania State University), Carly Nichols (University of Arizona), and Nari Senanayake (University of Kentucky)
Abstract submission deadline: 27 August 2018

In the last 15 years, scholars have bridged interests in bodies, health/disease, and environments to form a broad, loosely defined body of scholarship on health-environment interactions. This literature extends work by nature/society geographers on the sociality of nature, and conceptualises (un)healthy bodies as ‘environments’ or ‘socio-biological’ phenomenon that warrant greater attention and interest from the subdiscipline. Thus, feminist insights that a critical scale of analysis is the body and its own set of situated knowledge has come to be a defining feature of this work (Parr 2002; Hayes-Conroy 2015; Jackson and Neely 2016). Consequently, scholars have endeavoured to situate health outcomes as important (yet often overlooked) nature-society issues (Mansfield 2008). Together, this research positions environmental, health, and bodily ‘states’ as dynamic entities that are iteratively constituted by everything from political economies to discourses, to lively, material and affective happenings. Clearly, this work has been defined by theoretical and methodological pluralism, and we seek to further widen these engagements in this special issue of Social Science & Medicine.

We are specifically looking to round out a set of papers from the Association of American Geographer’s 2018 Annual Meeting with a few more articles that advance health-environment studies by drawing on innovative methods, theoretical frameworks, and/or underexplored themes/empirics. We encourage pieces that either use established approaches in new ways or develop new approaches by marshalling insights from fields such as STS, medical anthropology, histories of science/medicine, and feminist science studies. We also push contributors to explore the points of encounter and contradiction between different approaches such as production of health/disease, social constitutions of nature/biology, affect/non-representational theory, and relational ontologies/socionatural bodies. More importantly, we hope to further discussions of how methodological and theoretical pluralism in health-environment studies might be more effectively deployed to create socially and environmentally just geographies.

Potential papers could explore areas that have been relatively undertheorized in health-environment studies, including but not limited to:

  • Subjectivities and assemblages of well-being and disease
  • Mental health/emotional geographies
  • Chemical landscapes and contested environmental illnesses
  • Epigenetics, gene-environment interactions, and plastic/permeable bodies
  • The politics of (biomedical and bodily) knowledge and politics of diagnosis
  • Post-human dynamics and relational ontologies
  • Unpredictable, non-linear and/or contingent health-environment interactions
  • Uncertainties about health risks and how this mediates knowledge, experiences and outcomes
  • Intra-corporeal biology and body ecologies
  • ‘Disease bundles’ and lived experiences of disease

We invite all interested candidates to submit an abstract of no more than 300 words to Carly Nichols (cnichols@email.arizona.edu), Nari Senanayake (nus192@psu.edu), and Brian King (king@psu.edu) by Monday. 27 August.

We will review abstracts and respond to submissions within one week. We are submitting the full proposal in mid September and expect a decision from the editorial board three weeks after submission. Authors will then have 3.5–4 months to submit their final manuscript via the Social Science & Medicine online author portal. The papers will then be sent out for the standard double-blind peer review. The goal is to have all revisions of accepted manuscripts submitted by August 2019. Important dates in the tentative timeline are:

  • Abstract submissions: 27 August 2018
  • Proposal submission: 14 September 2018
  • Decision on acceptance: 05 October 2018
  • Final manuscripts due: No later than 05 February 2018 (or four months from notification of decision)


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