Prof Joanna Latimer
Chair in Sociology, Science & Technology

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Professor of Sociology, Science & Technology & Director of the Science & Technology Studies Unit (SATSU), University of York, UK.

Having studied English Literature as an undergraduate, I then trained and worked as a nurse for ten years.  As a medical ward sister, I won a fellowship to do a PhD at Edinburgh, which I completed in 1994, published as The Conduct of Care, shortlisted for the BSA Philip Abram’s Memorial Prize. Having worked at Keele University in Nursing and the Centre for Social Gerontology I took up a lectureship in Sociology at the Cardiff School of Social Sciences in 1999, progressing to chair in 2009.

My research focuses on the cultural, social and existential effects and affects for how science & medicine are done.  I work ethnographically, from the bedside, inside the clinic, across to the laboratory and the home, and back again. Subjects include the new genetics, reproduction, development and ageing.  My work examines everyday processes of inclusion and exclusion, and tracks how people, technologies and other non-humans are assembled and made to mean. I am especially interested in the worlds people make together and the biopolitics they are entangled in and circulate.   

Making contributions at the leading edge of social theory, I have written about the constituting of classesmotility, extension, aboutnessnatureculturescare in biomedicinedwellingthe politics of imaginationbody-world relations and class, often incorporating analyses of writers, such as Philip Larkin, and artists, such as Frida Kahlo and the sculptor Olivia Musgrave.  Currently I am exploring the notion of the Threshold

I have published many articles and books, including The Gene, The Clinic and The Family: Diagnosing Dysmorphology, Reviving Medical Dominance, winner of the 2014 Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness annual book prize.  My current work investigates the biology of ageing, and how humanist, trans and post-humanist ideas get played out in the making and unmaking of social worlds. I have held 3 visiting chairs at Sidney University, University of California San Francisco, and the Humanistic University, Utrecht. I am a longstanding member of the editorial board of The Sociological Review, and editor of the journal Sociology of Health and Illness.

I am currently writing a new book for Routledge, Biopolitics and the Limits to Life: Ageing, Biology and Society in the 21st Century, and co-editing two special issues, for New Genetics and Society on contemporary developments in Alzheimer’s research (with Richard Milne & Shirlene Badger) and for TheSociologicalReview entitled Intimate Entanglements (with Daniel Lopez).





2016 - Modelling & Remodelling Ageing: biology, health and society at the Limits of Life.  PI. With Carrie Friese (LSE), Jamie Lewis (Cardiff), Astrid Schrader (Exeter) and Neil Stephens (Brunel). Pending -ESRC

2016 - Biology and Ageing.  With Carrie Friese (LSE).  Pilot for larger grant application to the ESRC.  Funded by University of York Department of Sociology.  (PI)

2013-2018 - ESRC Early Detection of Dementia.  Wales Integrative PhD Programme in Neurodegeneration (WIN) studentships x 5 studentships (Team: Andrew Lawrence & Kim Graham, Psychology & Neuroscience; Adam Hedgecoe, Cesagen; Julie Williams, School of Medicine; and Bob Wood, Sociology, Bangor). (Co-PI)


Latimer J. (2018) Biopolitics and the Limits to Life: Ageing, Biology and Society in the 21st Century. London: Routledge.

Latimer J. (2018) Repelling neoliberal world-making: aging, biopolitics and irresponse-ability InTyler I. & Slater T.(2018) The Sociology of StigmaSociological Review Monograph Series.

Hillman A. & Latimer J. Making the epistemic concrete: Navigating tensions in the fabrication of dementia. For submission to Science Technology & Human Values.

Friese, C. Latimer, J. Lewis, T.  Schrader, A. and Stephens, N. Collaboration and multispecies ethnography: an approach for exploring human and non-human animal relations in how biology and society model and remodel ageing. In: Colombino A & Steinkrueger J. Methods in human-animal studies: the question(s) of the animal(s) in practice. Routledge Human-Animal Studies Series


Mentoring: Postdoctoral Fellowships

2017-20: Mentor – Neil Stephens – Big Tissue & Society.Wellcome Trust Investigator Award.

2017-18: Mentor – The Sociological Review Fellowship – Dr Meritxell Ramírez-i-Ollé.

2010-15: Mentor – Wellcome Trust Bioethics Fellowship – Alexandra Hillman

Ethics in practice: An ethnographic study of decision-making and their implications in dementia care(Team: Tony Bayer, Medicine and Ruth Chadwick, Cesagen).

2010-15: Grantholder and Mentor – Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, Dr Rachel Hurdley. Rethinking openness, space and organisations.

Postgraduate Research Students

I have supervised 23 doctoral students, 13 of whom have been externally funded, including by NIHR as well as the ESRC, and have examined 16 doctorates at home and abroad.

TAP Member/Chair (@York)

  • Carol Robinson Dying Inside: deaths from natural causes in prison culture, regimes and relationships (ESRC/White Rose DTP studentship).
  • Bethany Robertson Women in farming. (Department teaching scholarship)
  • Jill Simpson Relating to Data through Visualisation. (ESRC/White Rose DTP studentship) 

Current PhD Students

Kasturi Hazarika (Funded by the Indian Govt.) Public Art Projects: Addressing Critical Concerns of Urban Space and Ecology. 2016-2019.

Doctoral Students Supervised until May 2016

  • G. Pourgashtasbi (ESRC + 3 type 2 award) Syndrome Identities: An ethnographic study of young people experiencing rare genetic disorders (2015-16 – has returned to Germany).
  • L. Harper (ESRC + 3) An ethnographic study of children, young adults and their families’ experiences and perceptions of Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) (2014-18).
  • B. Coad (ESRC WIN +3) Early detection of structural & functional behavioural variant frontal lobe dementia (2013-2017).
  • M. Journeaux (Professional Doctorate) ‘Looking back to look forward’ - Enlightenment and Empowerment: Exploring how nurses have made sense of their educational experience (2013-2018).
  • E. Whitfied (ESRC +3 type 2 award) Reflexivity and the third age (2013-2016).
  • S. Flatt. (Part-time) Delivering Spiritual Care in the Acute Setting: A multi-disciplinary responsibility?  (2012-2017).

Doctoral Completions

  • J. Latchem (ESRC +3) Shaping, sharing and negotiating futures in brain injury rehabilitation (2013-2016).
  • T. Banks. (PhD Full-time/Self-funding) What is the relationship between Identity and Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) with particular reference to rehabilitation? 2011-2016.
  • S. Davies. (ESRC open competition 1+3 award) An ethnographic study of anti-ageing science (2010-2016).
  • H. Strange (Welsh Government’s National Institute for Social Care and Health Doctoral Research Studentship) Women’s situated reasoning on emerging non-invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD) technologies. 2011-2015
  • D. Clarke. (Part-time PhD) Experience of gay men undertaking undergraduate nursing courses, 2014.
  • G. Thomas. (ESRC +3) Down’s Syndrome: Experiences of Stigma in the Family, 2014.
  • 7.  M. Andrews-Evans. (Professional Doctorate, P/T). High-level Nursing Service Performance Indicators for Assessment of the Quality of the Nursing Service in a NHS Organisation? 2012.
  • H. Burgon (ESRC 1+3). An exploratory study of horsemanship as therapeutic intervention for disadvantaged young people, 2011.
  • P. White. (+ 3 ESRC Studentship). The significance of a life threatening event: an interpretive ethnographic inquiry with survivors of an Intensive Care Unit, 2008.
  • Hillman. (School Bursary 1+ 3). Social exclusion and the contemporary organisation of health care: an ethnography of older people in Accident and Emergency, 2008.
  • Mylles. (School Bursary 1+ 3). The Social Construction of Sexual Identity within an Organisational Setting, 2008.
  • D. Evans. (ESRC 1+ 3 Studentship). Buying into Bohemia: Shopping for morality, 2006.
  • R. Bridgens (ESRC 1+ 3 Studentship). Silenced voices: understanding postpolio syndrome through illness narratives, 2005.
  • Dr H. Charles-Jones. (NHSE New Blood Fellowship) Primary health care team manager, family doctor or general physician? An ethnography of the role of the general practitioner under change agendas, 2003.
  • E. Barradell (School of Post-Graduate Medicine, Keele University)Participation of families and older people in the social organisation of the nursing home, 2001
  • N.  Brocklehurst (NHSE New Blood Fellow).Evaluation of clinical supervision in community care nursing, 1999.

MPhil Completions

  • S. Clifton. (MPhil, P/T) Independence & Interdependence in Palliative Cancer Care, 2014.
  • P. Day. (MPhil, P/T) Community psychiatric nursing: knowledge and theories in use, Keele University, 2000.
  • Dr J. Wright. (MPhil, P/T) Diabetic patients in general practice: their understandings of the long-term affects of diabetes and their experiences of how diabetes is managed, 1999.

PhD Examining

  • Ruchi Higham. Clinical trials in regenerative medicine: negotiating process, practice and outcomes  University of York, 2017.
  • Kevin Pijpers. Haptic Encounters with Archaeological Knowing. Bodily Practices in Excavation.   University of Leicester, 2017.
  • S. Wright. Contextualising patient-centred professionalism in Gastroenterological practice: Consulting with patients, professionals and stakeholders about Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Swansea University, 2015.
  • J. Swallow. Cognitive Screening Tools for Alzheimer’s Disease. Leeds University, 2016.
  • D. Keating An ethnographic study of men's health in an urban community, Dublin City University, 2015 (Awarded MPhil).
  • F. O’Reilly.  Reality or rhetoric? Community involvement in primary care in north inner city Dublin, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, 2012.
  • A. Ehrenstein. Precarity And The Crisis Of Social Care: Everyday Politics And Experiences Of Work In Women’s Voluntary Organisations, Cardiff University School of Social Science, 2012.
  • E. Bendien. From the art of remembering to the craft of ageing. A study of the Reminiscence Museum, Humanitas, Rotterdam.  Humanistik University, Utrecht, 2010.
  • P. Stronge. Open to suggestion: Ordering, risk and invention in community mental health work, Goldsmiths College, London, 2009.
  • M. Attard.  Carriers of Responsibility, University of Sydney. 2009
  • S. Schofield. An exploration of how delirium in older people is explained and understood by qualified nurses, Glasgow Caledonian University. 2008.
  • A. Elderfield. Connecting people, Cardiff University, 2008.
  • C. Palli. Entangled Laboratories: Liminal Practices In Science, Universtat Autonoma, Barcelona, Spain, 2004
  • M. Heartfield. Governing recovery: a study of hospital length of stay and the reconstitution of patients and beds, Melbourne University, Australia, 2002.
  • M. Duke.  Constructions of the role of the nurse in hospital in the home (HITH) programs in Victoria,La Trobe University, Australia, 2002.
  • S. Brajtman. Relatives experience of delirium terminal patients before death, De Montford University, 2001.
  • T. Rudge, Nursing Wounds: A Discourse Analysis of Nurse-Patient Interactions During Wound Care Procedures in a Burns Unit, La Trobe University, Australia, 1997.



Selected publications


The Gene, the clinic and the family: diagnosing dysmorphology, reviving medical dominance. London/New York, Routledge. (2013) - Winner 2014 FSHI/BSA Book Prize.

Un/knowing Bodies, Sociological Review Monograph Series. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. (2009)

Edited Special Issues

Latimer, J. & Thomas, G. (eds.) The politics of reproduction and parenting cultures – procreation, pregnancy, childbirth and childrearing, Sociology of Health & Illness, 39 (6), 2017.

Naturecultures: Science, affect and the nonhuman. (with Mara Miele) Theory, Culture and Society, 30 (7-8), 2013.

The Politics of Imagination (with Bev Skeggs) The Sociological Review. 59 (3),2011.

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Latimer J. (In press) Repelling neoliberal world-making: aging, dementia and irresponse-ability. In: Tyler I. & Slater T.(2018) The Sociological Review Special issue/ The Sociology of Stigma, Sociological Review Monograph Series.

Hillman, A., & Latimer, J. (2017). Cultural representations of dementia. PLoS Med14(3): e1002274.

Müller, R., Hanson, C., Hanson, M., Penkler, M., Samaras, G., Chiapperino, L., Dupre, J., Kenney, M., Kuzawa, C., Latimer, J., Lloyd, S., Lunkes, A., MacDonald, M., Meloni, M., Nerlich, B., Panese, F., Pickersgill, M., Richardson, S., Rüegg J., Schmitz, S., Stelmach, A., and P.-I. Villa (2017). The Biosocial Genome? Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Environmental Epigenetics, Health and Society. EMBO Reports: Science & Society.

Latimer J. & Thomas G. (2015). In/exclusion in the clinic: Down's syndrome, dysmorphology, and the ethics of everyday work in the clinic. Special Issue: Sociologies of Everyday Life. Sociology.49(5):937-954.

Latimer J. & Munro R. (2015). Unfolding Class? Culture, modernity and uprooting.  Special Issue: The Great British Class Survey.  The Sociological Review.  63: 415-432. 

Latimer J. (2013). Being alongside: Rethinking relations amongst different kinds. Theory, Culture and Society, 30: 77-104 & Online First

Latimer J., & Miele M. (2013). Naturecultures? Science, Affect and the Non-human. Theory, Culture and Society, 30: 33-50 Online First

Latimer J. (2013). Rewriting bodies, portraiting persons? The gene, the clinic and the (post)human. Body & Society: 19: 3-31

Latimer, J. (2012). Meadow Arts’ House of Beasts: Reimagining Human & Non-human Animal Relations at Attingham Park. Humananimalia 4(1)

White P., Hillman A., & Latimer J. (2012). Ordering, Enrolling, and Dismissing: Moments of Access Across Hospital SpacesSpace and Culture, 15 (1): 68-87.

Latimer J., & Skeggs B. (2011). The Politics of Imagination: Keeping Open & Critical. In: Latimer J. & Skeggs B. (eds) The Politics of Imagination Special Issue, Sociological Review Monographs, The Sociological Review, 59(3): 393–410.

Latimer J., Bagley, M., Davis T., & Kipling D (2011). Ageing science, health care and social inclusion of older people. Quality in Ageing  & Older Adults, 12(1): 11-16.

Bagley, M., Davis T. Latimer J., & Kipling D. (2011). The contribution of biogerontology to quality ageing. Quality in Ageing  & Older Adults, 12(1): 26-32.


Book Chapters

Latimer, J. (In press). Afterword: Materialities, Care, ‘Ordinary Affects’, Power, and Politics. In: Buse, C., Martin, D. and Nettleton, S. (eds.)  Materialities of Care.  Sociology of Health & Illness Special Issue/ Monograph. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. 

Latimer, J., & Munro, R. (In press). Generalizability. In: The International Handbook of Interdisciplinary Research Methods, edited by Celia Lury et al. London: Routledge. 

Latimer J., & Munro R. (2016). About ‘Aboutness’: Extensionality, Dwelling and the Turn to Language In: Letiche H. G. Lightfoot and J.-L. Moriceau (eds.) Demo(s), Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Pp71-84.

Cox, L., Mason P., Bagley M., Steinsaltz D., Stefanovska, A., Bernjak, A., McClintock, P., Phillips, A., Upton, J., Latimer, J., & Davies, T. (2ndAuthor) (2014). Understanding Ageing: Biological And Social Constructions. In: Alan Walker (ed.) The New Sciences of Ageing. Bristol: Polity Press.

Latimer J., & Puig de la Bellacasa, M. (2013). Re-Thinking the Ethical: Everyday Shifts of Care in Biogerontology. In:  Priaulx N. & Wrigley A. (eds.) Ethics, Law and Society. Vol. V. (i) Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate. Pp. 153-174.

Latimer, J. (2011). Home, Care and Frail Older People: Relational extension & the art of dwelling. Invited chapter in: Christine Ceci, Mary Ellen Purkis and Kristin Björnsdóttir (eds) Perspectives on Care at Home for Older People. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978 0 415 89590 3 Pp 35-61.

Latimer, J. (2010). Conclusions: Defacing Horror, Realigning Nurses. In: Rudge T. & Homes D (eds.). Abjectly Boundless: Boundaries, Bodies and Health Work.  Ashgate Publishing. Pp 267-274.

Hillman, A., Latimer, J., & White, P.  (2010). Accessing Care: Technology and the Management of the Clinic. In:  Michael Schillmeier  & Miguel Domenech (eds) New Technologies and Emerging Spaces of Care.  Ashgate. Pp: 197-220


Online Posts

Latimer, J. (2017). Becoming-Rendered: On being caught in-between thresholds. Threshold.

Latimer, J. (2017). Slowing things down? The problem of people becoming (in)formed in a world of triggers rather than thresholdsThreshold

Latimer J. & Munro, R. (2017). The Politics of the Threshold: Power, motility, and endless ‘passing’. Thresholds.

Further publications

Joanna 218w

Contact details

Prof. Joanna Latimer
Chair in Sociology, Science & Technology
Department of Sociology
University of York
North Yorkshire
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 32 4735