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17th European Society for Health and Medical Sociology Biennial Conference

June 7-8, 2018
Venue: ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon, Portugal
Health policies have become more aligned with the needs of different social groups (e.g. migrants, ethnic minorities, women, LGBT) and of specific medical conditions (e.g. HIV, mental and age-related diseases). Regulators interfere more and more in professional work models and decisions to better control health systems performance and to enhance transparency, but so do empowered citizens in the defence of their rights as patients. Scientific knowledge is often called upon to improve the governance of health systems by providing clinical protocols and guidelines with evidence on effectiveness and efficiency. Nevertheless, the tensions involving rights, knowledge, and trust in health have been widely acknowledged.
Moreover, events such as the ongoing global warming, the latest financial and economic crisis, or the increasing number of refugees not only highlight that old tensions in health have persisted over time but also testify to the rise of new paradoxes linking rights, knowledge and trust. Health inequalities increased in the 21st century, the expected functioning of health systems often do not meet users´ and professionals´ needs, and the strengthened political and civil rights are constantly under challenge.
Health professionals continue to play a key mediation role between evidence and users despite professional values, commitment and ethics are under growing criticism, hence a seemingly contradictory link between distrust of and dependence on expert knowledge. This paradox coexists with market-driven dynamics in which users are turned into consumers and, together with professionals, they are made accountable for individual decisions. The diversity of scientific and lay rationalities makes the different knowledge rather difficult to reconcile, and the expectation of certainty in evidence-based truth is virtually unattainable. More established health care professions and emerging actors including the so-named complementary and alternative practitioners compete for their own place in the production of truths, while empowered citizens claim the right to decide freely on important events concerning their lives regardless of experts´ evidence (e.g. death and birth). The role of private investors in R&D is also still not entirely clear with regard to public regulation and science agenda setting.
The Scientific Committee is now accepting proposals for high quality, timely, innovative, and also educational, sessions related to the overall idea of tensions and paradoxes related to rights, knowledge, and trust in health resulting from broad social, political, and economic transformations to be presented at the ESHMS 17th Biennial Congress, June 7-8, 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal.
Suggested topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Social inequalities in health, disease and death
- Effects of social movements on health
- Adaptation of work models to specific conditions and needs
- Living and experiencing illness in contexts of crises (e.g. economic, environmental, humanitarian)
- Users´ experience in accessing healthcare
- Interactions between practitioners-patients, practitioners-practitioners and practitioners-regulators
- Features of trust in expert health knowledge
- The creation and overcome of scientific boundaries in health
- Measuring and putting in practice evidence-based procedures
- Lay knowledge and use of evidence-based procedures in health
- Combining different forms of evidence in health
- Effects of the market on the provision of care and research agendas
- Effects of accountability on professionals´ practice and patients´ decisions
- Ethical dilemmas in health (e.g. death and birth)
- Climate change and health
- Social uses of health technologies
Target audience
Sociologists, other social scientists, and scholars in interdisciplinary fields related to medicine, health, and illness. Scholars in medical humanities, public health, governance and administrative sciences are particularly encouraged to participate.
Session proposals
Session proposals must be submitted in English and consist of:
1) Title
2) Extended abstract (max 500 words)
3) Submitter´s name, filiation and email
4) Submitter´s Bionote (max. 100 words)
Session organizers´ role in the meeting
The expectation is that the conference runs as smoothly and pleasant as possible. Session organizers therefore play a key role in ensuring the success of their sessions. Always in close dialogue with the conference host, their role in the meeting includes:
- Reviewing and deciding on the acceptance or rejection of the paper proposals submitted to the session
- Liaising with the conference organization and participants in the session.
Additional information
- The conference language will be English.
- All rooms are equipped with a PC, a projector and a screen.
- Every session has one session organizer who is the main interlocutor with the conference Host and participants. A second co-organizer is allowed.
- Session organizers can organize one session only, although they can be co-organizers of another session.
- Session organizers are allowed to submit papers to the conference.
- Session organizers are required to register and pay the registration fee.
Submission of Session proposals All proposals should be submitted by electronic mail to and to the Conference Host, Tiago Correia (
Proposals will be accepted beginning February 2017 through 15 April, 2017.
Submitters will receive notification by late June as to the disposition of session submissions. Selection Process Sessions are reviewed, scored and ultimately selected by the Scientific Committee of the Conference.
On occasion, submitters can be asked for further clarification.
The scientific Committee reserves the right to reject proposals that do not fit in the editorial of the congress and to merge overlapping proposals.
Assessment criteria include adherence to the conference theme, consideration of the most relevant literature, originality, formal presentation and geographical diversity.
All submitters will receive email notification of the program team´s decision regarding their proposal in late July 2017.
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