Professor Joanna Latimer


+44 29208 76908
+44 (0)29 208 74175

Areas of Expertise

  • Sociology of medicine and nursing;
  • The Politics of Health Care;
  • Ageing Science;
  • Nursing;
  • Gerontology;
  • Care;
  • Clinical Genetics;
  • Power;
  • The Body;
  • Nature-cultures;
  • Participation, performance and identity;
  • Social theory (post-structuralism, materiality, feminist epistemology and ethics, symbolic interactionism, ethnomethodology, anthropology);
  • Ethnography;
  • Discourse and textual analysis.


My research works between medical sociology and the social study of science and technology, with a focus on biopolitics and the cultural and existential effects and affects of how science, care and medicine are done.

I am interested in supervising theoretically engaged studies of:

  • Biomedicine/medicine
  • Care
  • The body and illness.

My interests and expertise are in:

  • Medicine and care at the interface with ageing
  • Older people and biology
  • Paediatric genetics
  • Aspects of (bio)medicine and care
  • The place of the non-human (technology, animals and other materials) in the co-construction of the social.

Professional memberships

I studied English Literature at London University, which is where I was rigorously trained in the interpretation of text.  I was meant to go on to do a DLitt at Oxford but I felt I wanted to make a more practical contribution to society. Having worked as a cleaner and auxiliary nurse in a hospital for older people, I went on to train as a nurse at University College Hospital, London.  I worked as a nurse for ten years, including helping found the first nurse-led, inner-city Community Hospital, and ending as a ward sister of an acute medical ward at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. I published in nursing as a student nurse and as a ward sister, writing about learning to listen, what is stressful in nursing and about the founding of an experimental nurse-run community unit.   In 1986 I won a Scottish Home and Health Department Nursing Research Training Fellowship that funded my research training in Social Science at Edinburgh University. I then went on to complete my doctorate on the assessment and care of older people in acute hospitals as a self funded part-time student, with two breaks for maternity leave.  My first academic post was as Senior Research Fellow in Nursing at Keele University where I was charged with helping to engender a research culture to assist in North Staffordshire College of Nursing and Midwifery's transition into the university sector. I helped set up the Centre for Nursing Research there, of which I became acting director.   I was also appointed Honorary Research Fellow to the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, where I taught two courses on the masters in medical anthropology programme. I then took up a post as Research Officer in the Keele Centre for Social Gerontology, where I helped obtain nearly a million pounds in research funds.  From there I moved to a lectureship in Social Science in 1999 at the newly founded school in Cardiff, progressing to Chair in 2009.

Current Undergraduate Teaching

  • Social Theory
  • The Body, Health and Medicine
  • Power, Culture and Identity
  • Advanced Sociology of Medicine, Health and Illness (current convenor)

Current Masters (MSC Social Science Research Methods/MSc/Professional Doctorate)

  • Health, Biomedicine and Society
  • Masters of Genetic Counselling (Institute of Medical Genetics)
  • Interviews and Interviewing

Research Leadership

Current Doctoral Students

B. Coad (ESRC WIN +3) Structural & functional behavioural variant frontal lobe dementia (2013-17)

M. Journeaux (Professional Doctorate) 'Looking back to look forward' - Enlightenment and Empowerment: Exploring how nurses have made sense of their educational experience. (2013-18)

E. Whitfied (ESRC +3) Reflexivity and the third age. (2013-16)

J. Latchem (ESRC +3) Shaping, sharing and negotiating futures in brain injury rehabilitation (2013-16)

S. Flatt. (PT PhD) Spiritual Care in the Acute Setting: A multi-disciplinary responsibility?  (2012-17)

H. Strange (PhD Welsh Government's National Institute for Social Care and Health Research Studentship) Emerging non-invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD) technologies. 2011-15

T. Banks. (PhD Full-time) Identity and Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) rehabilitation? 2011-15.

S. Davies. (ESRC 1+3) Alternative Futures: how and when is anti-ageing green? 2010-15.

G.Thomas. (ESRC +3) Down's Syndrome: Experiences of Stigma in the Family 2010-14.

D. Clarke. (PT PhD) Experience of gay men undertaking undergraduate nursing courses. 2005-14.

Doctoral/MPhil Completions

  • S. Clifton. (MPhil) Independence & Interdependence in Palliative Cancer Care. 2005-14
  • M. Andrews-Evans. (Professional Doctorate). High-level Nursing Service Performance Indicators for Assessment of the Quality of the Nursing Service in a NHS Organisation? 2005-2012.
  • H. Burgon (ESRC 1+3).  An exploratory study of horsemanship as therapeutic intervention for disadvantaged young people. 2006-2011.
  • P. White. (+ 3 ESRC Studentship). The significance of a life threatening event: an interpretive ethnographic inquiry with survivors of an Intensive Care Unit. 2002-2008.
  • A. Hillman. (School Bursary 1+ 3). Social exclusion and the contemporary organisation of health care:  an ethnography of older people in Accident and Emergency. 2003-2008
  • A. Mylles. (School Bursary 1+ 3). The Social Construction of Sexual Identity within an Organisational Setting. 2003-2008.
  • D. Evans. (ESRC 1+ 3 Studentship). Buying into Bohemia: Shopping for morality. 2002-2006.
  • R. Bridgens (ESRC 1+ 3 Studentship). Silenced voices: understanding postpolio syndrome through illness narratives. 2001-2005.
  • 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. 2000-2003.
  • E. Barradell (School of Post-Graduate Medicine, Keele University) Participation of families and older people in the social organisation of the nursing home. 1998-2001
  • N.  Brocklehurst (NHSE New Blood Fellow). Evaluation of clinical supervision in community care nursing. 1996-1999
  • P. Day. (Mphil) Community psychiatric nursing: knowledge and theories in use, Keele University, 1997-2000
  • Dr J. Wright. (MPhil).Diabetic patients in general practice: their understandings of the long-term affects of diabetes and their experiences of how diabetes is managed. 1996-1999
  • Ageing & biology
  • Genetic, science & medicine
  • The body & personhood
  • Health/social care & older people: politics and practices
  • Contemporary social philosophy/(post)humanisms
  • Animals & other non-humans in the ordering of social relations
  • Ethnography
  • Contemporary art & sculpture
  • Dwelling

Research Themes

Culture, Transformation & Subjectivity Knowledge, Science & Technology Health, Wellbeing & Social Care

Research Groups

Culture, Imagination & Practice Research Group (CIP)
Ethnography, Culture and Interpretive Analysis