Sociologický časopis
Czech sociological review


The Czech Sociological Review Announces a Call for Abstracts for a Special Issue in English on the Theme: 'Health And Medicine: Post-Socialist Perspectives'

The Czech Sociological Review invites original research articles on the above theme from all relevant social science disciplines and methodological approaches. The deadline for the submission of paper abstracts (300–500 words) is September 30, 2013. The guest editors of the special issue, Amy Speier (, Iva Šmídová ( and Hubert Wierciński (, together with the editor-in-chief of the English edition, will inform successful authors of the selection of their proposed paper abstracts by October 15, 2013. Full-text papers are due no later than January 15, 2014. The special issue’s planned publication date is in 2014. Paper abstracts and papers should be submitted to the journal’s email address:

The sociology of medicine, health and the body is a growing sub-discipline of sociology. Originating in Emile Durkheim´s text on suicide (1897) and followed by writings by Talcott Parsons, Ivan Illich, Michel Foucault, Brian S. Turner, Howard Becker and others, by the mid-20th century this research field had evolved into a substantive sub-field. Sociology has joined social anthropology in the exploration of the embodiment of culture and medicine and the analysis of systems of medical knowledge and practices.

Post-socialist countries represent a challenging area, methodologically and theoretically, for the sub-discipline of medical sociology. State-provided health care, a key element of state-socialist-era health-care systems, coexists with the relatively new phenomenon of private health care, both alternative and biomedical. This has led to significant changes of various actors’ positions and relations within health care and in conceptions of the human body, which have challenged established sociological approaches to medicine, health care, health and illness. In addition, the state’s role with respect to health care and its influence on experiences and enactments of illness have undergone transformations in the post-socialist era. Social scientists are invited to contextualise, explain and critically examine these processes and practices.

The proposed thematic issue of the Czech Sociological Review aims to provide analytical reflections on some of these changes in health and medical care in post-socialist countries. The concept of ‘post-socialism’ refers, but is not limited, to the geo-political region of the former Soviet Bloc, and it may also resonate with post-colonialism, and offer potential comparative perspectives on the cultural and historical transformations of social institutions and the mechanisms of their re/production in different geopolitical contexts, as well as on the analytical concepts that grasp them. Post-socialism comprises a new and complex interplay between institutions, societies, individuals and experiences, and prompts the challenging need to reflect on illness, health and health care in the context of the economy, politics, history, etc. The Special Issue on Health and Medicine in post-socialist perspectives aims to develop and enrich debates already initiated on conceptualisations of post-socialism (for example, in this journal, by Chris Hann, Caroline Humphrey, Katherine Verdery), to provoke theorisation and offer space for potential (counter)interpretations of existing conceptualisations for the field of medicine and human health.

The editors aim to assemble contributions based on analyses and empirical research with a focus on post-socialist countries, primarily but not limited to Europe and post-Soviet countries. This issue will seek to address such questions as:

• What are the effects of privatising health care (both alternative and biomedical) in post-socialist countries? What are the ethical and moral ramifications of changes in health-care systems?

• Traits of universalism and of health-care systems based on solidarity can be found in countries beyond the former socialist bloc. What common effects may the recent trends in governmentality and growing neoliberalism have in these various contexts?

• How have the relationships between the body politic, the social body and the individual body shifted in post-socialist countries?

• What role do inequality and poverty play in the provision of and experience of treatment of particular groups, including refugee and migrant populations?

• How are global medical biotechnologies affecting the sources of knowledge and authority with respect to illness?

• How do the transformations affect subjective experience and definitions of illness – both by patients and healers?

• How do the transformations affect health-related professions and approaches to human health and illness?

• What are the impacts of the shifting limits of medicine and new technologies on everyday lives? How can we understand subsequent structural inequalities and competing sets of authoritative/expert knowledge?

• What are the limits and potential of post-colonial theorising of health, illness and medicine in post-socialist contexts, and vice-versa?


All papers should be original and follow the guidelines for papers submitted to the Czech Sociological Review, available on the journal website: Any specific questions about the special issue should be addressed to the guest editors at their emails above. Other text genres, such as book reviews, brief conference reports, project reports and documents, etc., are also welcome.

Sociologický ústav AV ČR, v.v.i., Jilská 1, 110 00 Praha 1, e-mail: