Medical Technology and the Social: How Medical Technology is Impacting Social relations, Institutions, and Beliefs about what is Normal

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Call for Publications
September 30, 2022
United States
Subject Fields: 
Health and Health Care, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Social History / Studies, Social Sciences, Sociology

                                                              Call for Manuscripts for Edited Volume


Working Title: Medical Technology and the Social: How Medical Technology is Impacting Social relations, Institutions, and Beliefs about what is Normal


Lexington Books,

A Division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.


Edited by Kathryn Burrows, PhD (Portland State University)


Medical technology is not a product of modernity, as is often assumed: as early as 950 BC, Egyptians were using wooden and leather prosthetics for missing toes. For at least 3000 years, humans have invented tools, devices, and products for the advancement of health, medicine, and wellness. However, we could perhaps date the modern revolution of medical technology to Jenner’s invention of vaccines in 1798, the use of surgical lighting beginning in the 1850’s, or Roentgen’s discovery of X-rays in 1895. More recently, advanced medical technology, such as imaging technology like fMRIs, cochlear implants and other prosthetics, IVF and other reproductive technologies, and, most recently, the use of AI in medicine and surgery, have transformed not only medicine, but also the social world and institutions in which we live. Prenatal ultrasounds now can tell expectant parents the sex of their unborn child, changing the experience of pregnancy; advanced surgery can now perform gender-affirming surgery altering not only a person’s appearance, but their very identity; Telehealth has expanded access to healthcare to homebound or rural patients; and 3D printing has enabled the production of customized organs and limbs. In addition to these technologies, advances in pharmacology have allowed some people with profound psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia to work, have families, and live “normal” lives, and have given people with conditions as diverse as diabetes and ALS a longer life span. And, across all these technological inventions, the question of “what is normal” lingers; is it “normal” to have access to prosthetic blades that can enhance physical performance; is it “normal” to take 15-30 pills a day to manage chronic diseases; is it “normal” to have a pig heart transplanted into a human body?

Please see the link above for the entire CFP, which includes example topics and the requirements and procedures for sending abstracts.


Contact Info: 

Kate Burrows

Portland State University

Newlane University

National Coalition of Independent Scholars

Contact Email: