culture + environment creating health + wellbeing engaged research

Rebecca Lynch

Lecturer in Medical Anthropology, Theme Lead for Health Across The Life Course

Dr. Rebecca Lynch is an anthropologist of the body and of (bio)medicine and is Lecturer in Medical Anthropology based in WCCEH. She completed her PhD in Social Anthropology at University College London (UCL).  Rebecca is interested in the dynamic, changing, fluid body and its boundaries, moral aspects of health and medicine, and (bio)medical categorisations (including of notions of risk and categories created through health technologies). Taking the body as always situated and contingent, in the process of becoming and being ‘made’, her work includes a focus on the role of the more-than-human (technologies, bodily fluids, spirit agents, material ‘stuff’) and attends to embedded values and assumptions particularly in relation to moral framings and the creation/widening of health inequalities. She has undertaken fieldwork with Evangelical Christians in Trinidad and on biomedical constructions of the body and health in different health settings in the UK. Her research has included using the lens of the body to consider:

– anxiety, risk, spirit agents and subjectivity and how these link to experiences of marginalisation and the construction of the Christian body in Trinidad

– self-monitoring health technologies, blood donation equipment, and experiences of, and surgery for, female urinary incontinence to explore the fluidity of the body, bodily boundaries, and relationships between bodies and technologies

– constructions of the body and ‘health behaviour’ and biomedical constructions of multimorbidity in relation to place to consider categorisations of the body and how this is linked to practices and environments by patients and in public health

Rebecca works and publishes in both social science and in medicine. She contributes to projects in public health and health services research, aiming to shift conversations around the role of social and cultural factors within health and medicine and to open-up taken-for-granted categories within anthropology and related fields. Rebecca leads the Centre’s ‘Life course’ theme and teaches on the MA Cultures and Environments of Health as well as contributing to other teaching on the body, health and illness, and on ethnography in SPA.

Rebecca is co-editor of the ‘Health, Technology and Society’ book series with Prof. Martyn Pickersgill (published by Palgrave), a member of the editorial board of Anthropology and Medicine and is currently serving on the Council of the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI).

Rebecca’s current research focuses on Chronic Liver Disease (CLD) and involves working with clinicians, epidemiologists, statisticians, and patients. Her NIHR-funded research involves undertaking fieldwork in UK clinical settings to consider how CLD is constructed and ‘done’ in different healthcare settings and by patients. Inequality in care and outcomes, stigma and the moral framings of CLD are central to this work. These are explored through investigating the experiences of, and relationships between, patients and medical staff; the role and management of affect in CLD care and decision-making; and what shifts if we focus on longer-term care for bodily fluids in caring for CLD rather than focus on the liver and liver transplantation.

She is also interested in the growth and development of ‘lived experience’ as a method within health (and beyond) and how we explore the body over time and across the life course. Rebecca is co-I on a further NIHR grant looking at the use of technologies for childhood asthma symptoms, with a focus on how introducing an ‘objective’ technology to record/interpret asthma symptoms changes understandings of the body and experiences of having asthma.