Below is Prof Graham Scsmbler’s abstract for the upcoming Digital Health/Digital Capitalism one day conference at Leeds Beckett on 4th July.
For many years Graham has been a major figure in the sociology of health, sociology if social class and inequalities and social theory.
Recently he has been exploring the potential of critical realism for theorizing health inequalities. He has also sought to understand the impact of recent developments in capitalist societies on health. In addition he is a prolific blogger.
I’m excited about his talk particularly as I have recently been thinking about how the largely symbolic character of contemporary capitalism impacts on health practices, inequalities and identities. I think that the increased digitization if health related behaviours and health phenomena broadly (diagnoses, measurements, prescriptions, etc.) could have specific impacts. Through representation as digital traces they become communicative in a different way to in the past. Increasingly all aspects of health exist in a standardised form and in a medium (digital data) which is thoroughly integrated with the contemporary machinery of capitalism.
Digital sociology or sociology of the digital? A case study on health.
The advance of what some call the digital age has been recent and rapid. I begin by charting its emergence and defining a family of terms in current but confusing usage. The main theme of the talk is the tension between: (1) the sociology of the digital, and (2) digital sociology. My predilection is for (1). In light of this I position ‘digitalisation’ within the compass of post-1970s financial capitalism and go on to suggest a series of outstanding quandaries for sociologists. In conclusion I advance and defend a number of hypotheses linking social change, digitalisation and health.