Photo of Jelmer Brüggemann

Jelmer Brüggemann

Associate Professor, Head of Division, Docent

What ideas and assumptions about people govern healthcare systems and organisation? What happens with understandings of the self and the body when people become part of medical practices? How can the social sciences contribute to better healthcare?

The challenge of studying social norms in medical practice

As a medical sociologist, I am interested in using different social science perspectives, and an interdisciplinary approach to study questions around the human in medicine.

Medical development and the conditions of care matter greatly to people’s everyday lives. Therefore, it is important that the social sciences ask questions about how medicine affects people’s bodies, identities, and relationships. Likewise, it is relevant to study how healthcare is shaped by ideas about those bodies, identities, and relationships. I want my research to contribute with critical reflections and to be a reminder about the human in medicine.

I am currently building up a research strand on how active patients shape and are shaped by today’s healthcare. Patients are increasingly urged and given opportunities to engage in their own care, in choosing care providers, and in expressing views on how healthcare should be organised and delivered. Such possibilities change not only the healthcare systems, but also ideas about what patients are, what responsibilities they can and are expected to take, and what becomes good care. The project “What are you complaining about” (funded by the Swedish Research Council 2021-2024) is part of this research strand, and studies care encounters in which patients express critique.

Most of my previous research has been in two major research programmes. In “A constant torment – tracing the discursive contours of the aging prostate” (PI: Prof. Ericka Johnson), I studied masculinity and sexuality in relation to prostate cancer treatment. I wrote my doctoral thesis as part of a research programme on abuse in healthcare (PI: Prof. Barbro Wijma) from the patient perspective, and have carried out several projects with care professionals. In the latter, I have studied drama pedagogical workshops about abuse in healthcare and how they visualise norms, relationships, and ideas about good care in practice.

I have long teaching experience within the medical humanities at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, LiU. My current teaching is part of teacher education, and deals with the theory of science and research methods.

Latest publications





Research projects

CV in short

  • 2020
    Docent – Sociology (Linköping University)
  • 2012
    PhD – Medical science (Linköping University)
  • 2007
    MSc – Science, Technology and Society (Linköping University)
  • 2006
    MA – Applied ethics (Utrecht University, NL)
  • 2005
    MSc – Sociology (Utrecht University, NL)
  • 2004
    BSc – General social sciences (Utrecht University, NL)
  • 2003
    Bachelor – Marketing management (Arnhem Business School, NL)


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