My publications in 2020

orange and white letter b wall decor

Edited books and special issues

Book chapters

Journal articles

Reports

  • Rich, E., Lewis, S., Lupton, D. and Miah, A. (2020) Digital Health Generation? Young People’s Use of ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ Technologies. Bath: University of Bath, UK. Available at https://www.digitalhealthgeneration.net/final-report
  • Newman, C., MacGibbon, J., Smith, A. K. J., Broady, T., Lupton, D., Davis, M., Bear, B., Bath, N., Comensoli, D., Cook, T., Duck-Chong, E., Ellard, J., Kim, J., Rule, J., & Holt, M. (2020). Understanding Trust in Digital Health among Communities Affected by BBVs and STIs in Australia. Sydney: UNSW Centre for Social Research in Health. Available at http://doi.org/10.26190/5f6d72f17d2b5
  • Fox, B., Goggin, G., Lupton, D., Regenbrecht, H., Scuffham, P. and Vucetic, B. (2020) The Internet of Things. Report for the Australian Council of Learned Academies. Melbourne: ACOLA. Available at https://acola.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/hs5_internet-of-things_report.pdf

Other publications

Photo credit: Glen Carrie, Unsplash

Living with COVID-19 in Australia: the first year in photos

COVID novelty socks for sale, Inner South Canberra (December 2020)

As a social researcher who has specialised in writing about medicine and health for decades, I have engaged in many COVID-19-related projects this year. These include writing an initial agenda for social research on COVID and some commentary on this blog (here and here), recording some talks (here), coordinating a registry of Australian social research on COVID, putting together a topical map of COVID social research, publishing two articles in The Conversation (here and here) and developing the open access resource Doing Fieldwork in a Pandemic document.

I’ve also edited a special section of Health Sociology Review and a co-edited a book on the social aspects of COVID as well as co-authoring a book on face masks in the time of COVID, a report on marginalised communities’ trust in digital health data (including COVID-related data) and an article on people’s use of digital technologies for sociality and intimacy in a Media International Australia special COVID issue.

Another initiative I undertook as a form of documentation of life during COVID in 2020 was using my smartphone to photograph everyday experiences from my own perspective and in the areas in which I live and work (in Sydney and Canberra). I’ve taken 100 photographs and have now uploaded them to Flickr as an open access resource, available for use under the Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike (CC-BY-SA) license. Here’s just a small selection.

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Sign in public toilet at UTS Sydney campus (December 2020)
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Front page of The Canberra Times warning of ‘Christmas chaos’ due to outbreak of COVID on Sydney’s Northern Beaches (December 2020)
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Sign on Sydney City train (December 2020)
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Supermarket signs in Sydney City (July 2020)
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Petrol station signs in Inner South Canberra (April 2020)
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An empty Sydney Opera House forecourt during the first national lockdown (July 2020)
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Toilet paper shortages in Coles, Inner South Canberra (April 2020)

Top 10 tips for increasing your citations

Who doesn’t want more people to read and cite their work? Here’s some tips I have learnt along the way about what kind of publications attract attention and citations. They are most relevant for postgraduate students and academics in the humanities and social sciences.

1. Make sure you have a Google Scholar profile set up. People can then easily find your work all in one place. Google Scholar is much more inclusive of humanities and social sciences publications and citations than are the science-oriented citation databases such as Scopus or Web of Science.

2. Write books. My top-most cited publications are nine of my books. Some of these were published more than two decades ago and are still regularly cited.

3. Write about a diverse range of topics. This means a much wider readership for your work. It will also help keep you and your writing fresh and interesting, which in turn, will make you more interesting to your readers.

4. Publish in a wide range of journals. Ditto.

5. Be one of the first to write about a new topic or concept or apply a social theory in a new way. Get in early and you will become the ‘go to’ reference to cite.

6. Write ‘how to’ pieces. Here again, introductory publications that clearly outline how to apply a particular method or a new social theory will attract interest and attention.

7. Make your writing easily accessible: Use open access repositories such as your university’s e-repository or ResearchGate to publise your outputs and make them readily available to people. You can upload preprints or postprints of articles and book chapters, and ResearchGate makes it very easy for people to request a PDF of the published version and for you to supply it.

8. Use social media to spread the word about your new publications. Tweet, blog, notify Facebook special interest groups, make an introductory YouTube video.

9. If you write book chapters, make them readily available open access as soon as they are finalised. Book chapters can take ages to be published, but you can share preprints once they are ready and people can start citing them.

10. Be bold and take risks in your writing. Readers are attracted to new shiny things and will be more interested if you are trying to do something different or innovative.

A very COVID Christmas

With less than four weeks to go before Christmas, decorations are going up in shopping centres, public spaces and private homes. This year, excitement and anticipation are mixed with fear and uncertainty. Christmas 2019 was the last ‘pre-COVID’ celebration of that festival. We are now in the ‘post-COVID’ world: the term I give to the era after the world first heard about the unusual pneumonia-like illness affecting people in Wuhan at the very end of 2019.

In this first post-COVID Christmas, uncertainty reigns about how best to celebrate the festival. A range of COVID-themed Christmas decorations are readily found online. These include baubles featuring images of Christmas icons such as Santa Claus or cute reindeer wearing masks. The novel coronavirus itself can be found rendered in Christmas-themed decorations (dubbed ‘pandemic ornaments’) for trees: in bright green and red hues, gold and glittery or grouped with other COVID iconic objects such as toilet rolls and masks. Other COVID customised decorations declare 2020 as ‘The year we stayed home‘ or display the words ‘Merry Christmas’ together with a coronavirus symbol wearing a jolly Santa hat. A less merry tree ornament features the dread image of the mediaeval plague doctor’s mask.

Face masks themselves can be obtained for wear at gatherings with Christmassy-themed patterns. Even Christmas stockings designed for holding Santa gifts for young children can be purchased with COVID themes emblazoned on them (‘Purple Viral Particle Large Christmas Stocking‘, anyone?).

At first glance, given the devastation that the COVID crisis has wrought globally, these ways of commemorating the ‘COVID year of 2020’ may seem jarring, a tasteless example of commercial entrepreneurialism and disrespectful to the dead or those who have been cast into poverty because of losing employment. In many countries, such as the USA Brazil and India, coronavirus infections and COVID deaths are increasing daily, with little sign of abating. The world has recorded the grim total of nearly 1.5 million deaths from COVID (and this figure is likely a gross underreporting).

In many countries in which Christmas is traditionally a significant festival, such as the UK, people are being urged to form ‘bubbles’ with a small number of other households – or even to reconsider celebrating Christmas at all with gatherings. Fears are rightly held by health authorities in the USA for the possibility of Christmas-related surges of infections, due to people dropping their guard when meeting loved ones and not engaging in physical distancing, wearing masks or opening enough windows (in what will be very cold conditions for many people celebrating in the Northern Hemisphere).

In Australia, where the coronavirus at the moment is well-contained, federal and state governments have made pronouncements about the importance of opening state borders to allow travel across the country for Christmas. Yet the recent example of an unexpected outbreak in the city of Adelaide, followed by the sudden re-closure of some state borders, gives pause for those who may be considering interstate travel for the festivities. Once over the border, they may find themselves stuck in quarantine or unable to travel back home if there is an outbreak.

The insistence on continuing to celebrate Christmas ‘as usual’ and even to commemorate the first year of COVID with customised decorations is understandable. Prolonged uncertainty and fear are hard to live with. People are desperate to return to ‘normal’ and to engage in the usual celebrations with family members and close friends. Purchasing and displaying COVID-themed decorations is a way of acknowledging that we have all gone through a very difficult year, with losses of many kinds: not just in terms of deaths of loved ones or going through severe illness that for some has caused continuing debilitation, but also the usual rites of passage, celebrations and regular gatherings that give people joy and hope. The Christmas festival, after all, began from European pagan rituals centred around warmth, light, feasting and hope conducted in the dead of winter, when darkness and cold reigned and few signs of life were evident in the natural world.

Pandemic decorations may be the only way some people can celebrate Christmas safely, while also celebrating surviving this first ‘annus horribilis’ of the post-COVID world. As one Christmas bauble has it: ‘2020 sucked – yay Christmas!‘.

Image credit: Marco Verch. CC BY 2.0. Available from Flickr

Recordings of talks I’ve given this year

While we all have our bugbears with giving talks on Zoom (or equivalent), one benefit is that they are often recorded so that people who are interested but can’t make the live event can view the presentations later.

Here are links to recordings of presentations I’ve done recently.

Australians’ Experiences of the COVID-19 Crisis: Emerging Findings from a Social Research Project (UNSW Sydney, 19 August 2020)

COVID Life Narratives: A Sociomaterial Approach (University of Sorbonne, Paris, 4 September 2020)

More-Than-Human Data Intimacies (University of Turku, Helsinki, 23 October 2020)

A COVID-19 tanglegram

It’s Social Sciences Week, and one way to emphasise the complex and nuanced insights offered by social research is to present this COVID-19 tanglegram that I have just drawn. I have built on my own and others’ research into the COVID crisis and its many dimensions in making this tanglegram.

The concept of the ‘tanglegram’ comes from the work of the archeologist Ian Hodder. It’s a similar idea to a mind map or concept map, but it focuses on relationships between people and material things rather than on ideas or concepts. In his 2012 book Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships Between Humans and Things, Hodder explains his sociomaterial perspective. He argues for an approach that can demonstrate how a thing brings other things and people together. It is not a matter of identifying what things ‘do’ for people in a certain cultural and historical context but instead focusing on understanding the thing itself and its multiple connections to other things as well as to people.

Hodder argues that how humans give meaning to things is related to the ways in which they use them and to their links with other things. People use things in often very different ways in different contexts. Hodder discusses how things demand attention and care from people, sometimes facilitating, sometimes hindering human purposes and agency. Things, he says, ‘have lives that follow their own paths’ (Hodder, 2012, p. 13). Hodder notes that all things, whether they are designated as ‘living’ or ‘inert’ are in a state of change.  He further notes that things make people, just as people make things.

There is no doubt that COVID-19 crisis – a combined health and socioeconomic crisis – is a powerful entity that is changing human lives in unprecedented ways. We are still trying to understand how the coronavirus spreads and can be treated and contained. Just when we thought we may have controlled it, it re-emerges again, again creating chaos. But this is not to say that the coronavirus is a thing unto itself – a malevolent enemy that is outside us, trying to break in and destroy us. Rather, the virus and the COVID crisis are entities that are part of complex networks and relationships with people and do not exist outside these networks and relationships. The coronavirus has agency and force, but only with and through humans and other things.

One way in which Hodder documents and explains these relationships and dependencies in his archaeological research is to make what he calls ‘tanglegrams’ or maps in which he traces the connections between a thing and the other things and people to which it is connected. My COVID-19 tanglegram took inspiration from this idea. I started with the broad concept of the ‘COVID assemblage’, which shows how major elements come together: the coronavirus, humans, other animals, place/space/time, affects, things and discourse/culture. This is shown as a simple Venn diagram below.

In drawing the tanglegram I wanted to map in more detail the multiple, constantly changing things and people that come together and come apart as part of the COVID assemblage. I have not been able to include every element or relationship of this assemblage in the tanglegram (that’s simply impossible), but I have included many of the major things, places/spaces, people and organisations that I could think of. Unlike Hodder, I also include affects, as these are crucial to my theorising of how people engage with and form relationships with things.

For me, as a social researcher, this tanglegram helps me understand the power and multi-layered, overwhelming complications of the COVID assemblage in a way that has gone well beyond my initial Venn diagram.

Registry of Australian social research on COVID-19

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Photo credit: D Lupton

 

I am doing lots of COVID-related projects and so are many other Australian social researchers.

Here’s a registry of these projects I have compiled – please add yours if it is missing. Registry of Australian Social Research on COVID-19

 

 

Topical map of COVID-19 social research literature

I have been busy checking out the explosion of peer-reviewed articles published recently in social science journals on the COVID crisis. I located over 120 such articles, and have conducted a rapid topic mapping process to support my own COVID-related research.

In case anyone else might find this document useful, it can be accessed here: Lupton – Map of Social Research on COVID 19 July 2020 (updated version 20 July 2020).

New Vitalities Lab webinar series on innovative methods

Vitalities Lab

The Vitalities Lab has launched a new webinar series involving short-form presentations (slides plus voice-over). These webinars are designed to be clear explanations about using innovative methods and analysing the materials generated. They can be used in undergraduate and postgraduate methods teaching or by any interested researcher.

The ‘Breaking Methods’ series can be found on YouTube here. The first four videos explain how to go about using story completion, map making, storyboards and TikTok content for social research.

You can subscribe to the channel to receive updates as we upload new webinars across a range of exciting methods.

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Vitalities Lab Newsletter Number 8

Vitalities Lab

Tuesday 19 May, 2020

Like many people around the world, all of us in the Vitalities Lab have been adjusting to the ever-changing ‘new normal’. We’re all currently working from home using a range of tools to keep in touch and connected during this time of isolation (you can read about our digital workspace.) Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, it has impacted so many aspects of daily life.

Vitalities Lab Postdocs document working from home (left Marianne, top right Ash, bottom right Clare)

As social scientists, lab members have started thinking about some of these impacts and writing about them on our blog. We’ve been thinking about the popularity of home fitness and the emphasis governing bodies continue to place on physical exercise during the pandemic; the role social networking apps like TikTok may play in sharing information about COVID-19; as well as the ways digital…

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