Futures ahead - Translations and collaborations between medicine, social science and the humanities

Welcome to the conference Future Ahead - Translations and collaborations between medicine, social science and the humanities June 16-18, 2021 in Linköping, Sweden.

The conference welcomes researchers within the fields of medicine, social sciences and the humanities that seek to further discuss the potential of collaboration, common goals and possible challenges. We also welcome other stakeholders such as patients, health practitioners, and policy makers.

Main Topics of the Conference 

This conference focuses, for example, on lived experiences of embodiment and illness, on ethical and in other ways normative aspects of medicine, and on local and global health challenges. It focuses on how sociocultural knowledge is translated into medical or health care practices, or the other way around, how discourses of society and culture are produced within medicine and health care. We also explore collaborations between researchers and clinicians, and seek to grasp new challenges and central collaborations for the future. 

Health Challenges and Collaborations

Facing the rapid speed of new innovations and biotechnologies, medicine and health care are currently being transformed in numerous ways. The goal of personalized medicine, tailored to fit the individual patient’s need, and the strive towards equality in health meet restructuring welfare states, health consumerism, patients’ suffering from complex diseases. Medicine and health care also face increasing possibilities to screen and identify unrecognized disease in healthy, asymptomatic populations.

Globally, the World Health Organization has identified multiple health challenges including outbreaks of communicable diseases as well as humanitarian crises caused by environmental pollution and climate change. The call for collaborations between medicine, social science and the humanities has perhaps never been stronger.

The Research field of Medical humanities

The research field of medical humanities, understood broadly, encompasses the humanities and the interpretative social science in and of medicine, as well as inquiries at the very intersection of medicine, the humanities, and the social sciences. It sets out from the presumptions that sociocultural, ethical, and political aspects play into the development and use of specific medical technologies and medical knowledge production, and that such technologies and knowledge production also evoke sociocultural, ethical and political questions.

This research field also examines experiences of illness, suffering, and bodily and functional variations, and acknowledges that these experiences can evoke existential questions, which are central to the humanities and the interpretative social sciences. Further, the medical humanities aptly offer tools to engage with questions of meanings, subjectivity, agency, ethics, and power.

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Professor Jane Macnaughton, Institute for Medical Humanities, Durham University.
Professor Jonathan Metzl, Center for Medicine, Health, and Society, Vanderbilt University.
Professor Kari Nyheim Solbrække, Institute of Health and Society, Oslo University.
Professor Kristin Zeiler, Department of Thematic Studies: Technology and Social Change, Linköping University.

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We welcome papers that seek to engage in the conversation on critical intersections of the humanities, social sciences, and medicine. 

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Subjectivity, intersubjectivity and lived experiences of embodiment, illness, pain, pregnancy, birth, and dying
  • Affectivity and agency
  • Norms, values and sociocultural assumptions about bodies, body-parts, sex, race/ethnicity, gender, and specific diseases
  • Ethical analysis of/within medicine
  • Equality in health care
  • Structural discrimination within health care services
  • The co-production of society, medicine, science, and policy-making
  • Cultural diversity and concepts of health, disease, and illness
  • Knowledge production in medicine and the medical humanities
  • Local and global health challenges
  • Translations between medical research and clinical practice
  • Challenges and potentials in collaborations across research disciplines and professions


Anyone wishing to present a paper at the conference should submit an abstract in Word format (500 words maximum).


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Date, location & registration

  • Conference
    June 16-18, 2021
  • Location
    Linköping University, Sweden

  • Registration opens January 5, 2021



  • Abstracts
    December 21, 2020.
    Please submit your abstract to: futuresahead2021@lists.liu.se. Authors of abstracts will be notified of acceptance or rejection no later than January 29, 2021.

  • Registration
    April 16, 2021


The LiU Medical Humanities and Social Sciences network, which is part of the National Network for Medical Humanities and Social Sciences.

The LiU Medical Humanities and Social Sciences network

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