American Sociological Association

Call for Papers: Special issue of JHSB on "Medical Sociology: Findings, Challenges, and Future Directions"

Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Special Issue on “Medical Sociology: Findings, Challenges, and Future Directions”

Although Medical Sociology has made substantial contributions to our understanding of the social dimensions of health and health care, it is vital for the development of the field to critically reflect on our findings, challenges, and future directions. This special issue seeks to identify our key contributions to the sociological study of health, illness, and healing systems (since 2000), engage shortcomings of major research streams in Medical Sociology, and outline important and innovative directions for the field. This special issue seeks to answer the following questions about the state of the field:

  1. What have we learned since 2000? What topics have been emphasized? What questions have been addressed? What conclusions have been drawn?
  2. What have we missed? Which areas of research are underdeveloped or underappreciated? Which areas of research have stagnated? How have we overlooked or perpetuated inequalities in health?
  3. Where are we going? How should we define ourselves? What should we focus on? What should we re-focus on? What should we stop doing? How might the field innovate theoretically, methodologically, and substantively?

Submissions may include both conceptual and empirical manuscripts. Here are some potential topics:

  • The criminal justice system and population health
  • The integration of biology into social science research
  • Emerging trends in U.S. morbidity and mortality
  • Child development and the social construction/medicalization of mental illness
  • Subjective experiences of health, illness, and/or disability
  • Studies of health institutions or medical professions/professionals
  • Applications of core sociological theories of inequality (e.g., critical race theory, feminist theory)
  • Health measurement and other methodological issues

Submission Procedures
A short abstract (250 words) describing the paper’s goals should be submitted by December 15, 2019. Abstracts should be submitted via email to Please indicate that your submission is for the special issue in the subject line of your email. The Editors will identify abstracts of interest. Selected authors will be invited to submit full manuscripts (due August 1, 2020). Full manuscripts will be evaluated through the usual Journal of Health and Social Behavior peer review process. As such, publication is not guaranteed.

For more information on the special issue, please feel free to contact Amy Burdette ( or the other special issue editors Michael McFarland (, Miles Taylor (, and Miranda Waggoner (

Special Issue Timeline
Abstract submission deadline: December 15, 2019
Invitations to submit full manuscripts: February 1, 2020
Manuscript submission deadline: August 1, 2020