Symposium: Communicating Good Health and Well-being

Symposium: Communicating Good Health and Well-being

Proposals due: Sunday, 23 September 2018
Decision notification: Friday, 28 September 2018
Venue: Deakin University, Burwood, Australia
Date: Friday, 23 November 2018 (Note: This is the day after the Australian Sociological Conference at Deakin University)

In implementing the United Nations’ sustainable development goal ‘Good Health and Well-being’, it is important for health promotion, service provision, and advocacy to address how knowledge is socially constructed and how it is communicated.

On the one hand, there is growing scholarly criticism that reductionist understandings of health and disease, as well as the narrow solutions they lead to (including some pharmaceuticals), discourage patients and the general population from embracing an educated, embodied, whole-of-life-course approach and socially-grounded understanding of health/well-being.

On the other hand, changing communication methods (e.g., digital networks) and new social attitudes (i.e., populism) have produced an anti-expert and anti-medical discourse that is gaining popularity, and is impeding the ability to communicate medical information effectively, which is negatively impacting individuals and communities. Across these two poles, health communication and advocacy face ongoing difficulties in communicating well to groups affected by migration, ageing and socio-economic and welfare vulnerabilities.

While open to other disciplines, this symposium is intended to provide an opportunity for health social scientists to: (a) share current research and perspectives on these themes; (b) develop new understandings through dialogue, which can aid in the development of policy and other solutions; (c) build new alliances to aid intervention, practice and policy advice in the health and mental health communication sector; and (d) explore possibilities for future collaboration.

Regarding the latter, we envision including a selection of presentations and papers from this symposium in an anthology, special issue or collection, to further engage with these issues, provide a resource for others operating in this space, and stoke further dialogue. Further information will be provided at the symposium.

Call for papers and presentations

We invite you to submit proposals for presentations (research, policy, advocacy, and related areas) on the above. We are particularly interested in topics related to:

  • Critical understandings of transactional approaches to health and mental health
  • Critical reflections on the social construction of medical knowledge
  • Critical analyses of the impact of political-economy on knowledge production and communication
  • The growth of anti-expert and anti-medicine (such as anti-vaccination) groups and discourses
  • The relationship between health promotion, well being, and resilience (critically understood)
  • Best practices in health promotion and advocacy
  • Related topics in health sociology, medical humanities, health communication, mental health advocacy, strategic communication, critical approaches to bodies, care and well-being.

To submit: please email a proposal to Rob Cover (University of Western Australia) and Manuel Vallee (University of Auckland) to comhealth2018@gmail.com, with the following information:

  • Title
  • Abstract of no more than 300 words, along with a biography of no more than 100 words
  • Full name and affiliation(s)
  • Email address

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