What are your research interests?
The look on health has been transformed from a given biomedical state into a biosocial state of being. The construction of health, thus, increasingly depends on the availability and types of resources at the disposal of the social individual, encouraging a conceptualization of health as a socially embedded but individualized and privatized capital. In my research, I explore how such a perspective has the potential to enhance our understanding of contemporary trends in health practices and health discourse, ranging from questions of empowerment and resistance in the patient-doctor relationship to the digital transformation of health care and health care organization.
How did you become interested in your field of research?
Death itself and ways of postponing it, commonly known as health care, have always pre-occupied the human mind, from the shamans in early hunter-gatherer societies to the priests, philosophers, medical doctors, policy makers, and researchers of today. Personally, I have always been fascinated with de-bating the nature of health and held a deep respect for those who devote their lives to care for the health of others. Realising that the debate on the nature of health and healthcare will never be settled with definitive certainty, I nevertheless am grateful that I have got the chance to further our understanding of how people care for their health and the health of others as part of their everyday lives.
What research question would you above all like to find the answer to? And why is that?
I was once asked what constitutes a “good” theory in social science. With that in mind, I would like to understand the potential impact of improved theoretical understanding of sociocultural complexity on major societal challenges such as health inequality.
Which impact do you expect the Talent Track will have on your career and on your research field in general?
I expect the Talent Track to support me in attaining the boundary conditions necessary to launch an investigation into how conceptualizations of health as capital can contribute to an enhanced understanding of the main constituents (such as social processes and mechanisms) of health inequality.
Which impact do you expect your research to have on the surrounding society?
My research directly affects the surrounding society by providing empirically founded insights into sociocultural aspects of health and practices of health care. Maybe even more importantly, my theoretical conceptualizations enable practitioners in health care, health marketing, health education, and health promotion to reflect on contemporary trends and tackle both current and emerging societal challenges.