Paula A. Saukko Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
I have a long-term research interest in how the lived experience of our body/self is mediated by institutions (medicine, media) and social regimes and contexts. My research focuses on issues of health, medicine, psychiatry and science. In addition to studying experience I have conducted historiographic research, media analysis and interviewed experts, such as scientists, clinicians and policy-makers.
Recently my research has focused on health and lifestyle, both in terms of healthy lifestyle and lifestyle-related diseases and in terms of medicine become more like “lifestyle” i.e. blending into consumer culture. I have recently completed two research projects. One, funded by the Department of Health, on primary prevention of heart disease, which consisted of a qualitative follow-up study on healthy individuals at risk of heart disease in the aftermath of an intervention. The other study, funded by the Wellcome Trust, focused on nutrigenomics, a new scientific discipline, which seeks to harness genetics to improve healthy diet and consisted of analysing new biotech companies in the area as well as interviews with scientists and policy makers. I have also conducted interviews with individuals with a genetic susceptibility to deep vein thrombosis. Currently I am working to compile my work in this area into a monograph.
For the past fifteen years I have also studied eating disorders, particularly anorexia. I have published a monograph The Anorexic Self (State University of New York (SUNY) Press, 2008), which critically investigates how the “disordered” anorexic self is configured in psychiatry, media and social sciences and how this discourse is lived by women diagnosed as anorexic or bulimic. I continue publishing and working in this area, also with PhD students.
My work has a strong methodological focus, and I have published a book Doing Research in Cultural Studies (Sage, 2003), which lays out how to examine the lived, discursive and material dimensions of reality. I am a member of the British Sociological Association, Society for the Social Studies of Science and currently convene our local North and East Midlands Medical Sociology Group. I supervise, and I am interested in supervising, PhD students in the area of health, medicine and innovative qualitative methodologies.
I have a first degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Tampere, Finland, and for a short while I worked as a professional political reporter. I have a PhD in Communications from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, which was funded by a Fullbright studentship as well U of I. Prior to starting in Loughborough in 2007 I have worked at the University of Exeter and University of Leicester, both in the UK.