Professor Nick Fox BSc MSc PhD FHEA

Nick Fox

Section of Public Health
School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR)
University of Sheffield
Regent Court, 30 Regent Street
Sheffield S1 4DA

Tel: (+44) (0)114 222 0808
Fax: (+44) (0)114 272 4095


Room: 1031


My work as a sociologist addresses a number of key issues in the study of social processes in health and health care. Research has ranged from doctoral work on the organisation of surgery, through a programme of research on the impact of the Internet on patients and professionals, to most recent work on the governance of health technologies and the relationship between identity, embodiment and health.  An interest in the application of Deleuzian theory to sociology has led to some innovative recent work on assemblages in areas including technology, creativity, emotions and sexuality.

I joined the University of Sheffield in 1988 having cut my academic teeth in the University of Bristol Medical School. Until September 2009, I was ScHARR's Director of Teaching, and also did ten years as Postgraduate Tutor. In 2009 I left the full-time staff and now hold an honorary professor appointment.  I continue to supervise research students, organise training for PhD supervisors, and collaborate with colleagues on research projects including health and the environment.

My new book The Body was published by Polity Press in February 2012. It summarises my anti-humanist and post-structuralist approach to embodiment, drawing on the work of Deleuze and Guattari. I have now turned my attention to long-standing interests in the sociology of creativity, with a paper at the 2011 British Sociological Association conference; and sexuality , which I presented as a keynote to a recent BSA workshop on sexualisation, and at conferences at Brunel and Kingston Universities in 2012 and 2013.  You can find these in the 'Downloads' box on the right.  Seminars in ScHARR presented my work on health identities and upon environment and health, also on the right.

The Wisdom Centre, of which I am director, grew out of an initial research project to provide educational research and training to the NHS regionally and nationally. It now provides training in clinical governance and research methods to medical staff in the UK and globally.

Please consider following me on or Researchgate.  Links are on the right.

Research Interests

  • Embodiment, Health and Identity
  • The Governance of Health Technologies
  • Creativity and Health
  • Sexuality and Affect

These areas encapsulate my current interests, all of which address my underpinning concern with post-structuralist perspectives on health and health care.

My work is widely cited and I have an international reputation for this body of work. I was plenary speaker at the Hellenic Sociological Society conference in Athens in 2009, and have given invited lectures on my work in Australia, Thailand and Portugal.  In 2012, I have been invited to speak at the London and the North West medical sociology seminar series, as well as conference papers at the BSA, Sexual Cultures and Medical Sociology conferences..

In 2007, I was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Adelaide, while in 2006 I held a similar fellowship at the University of Sydney, and also spent time working at Flinders University on a number of collaborations.

Teaching Interests

Although I no longer teach in ScHARR, I retain interests in the delivery and governance of higher education.

I run an independent consultancy known as the Wisdom Centre, which provides online training in Clinical Governance to Yorkshire and Humber NHS Postgraduate Deanery. To date, more than 1000 SpRs have taken the course.

Professional Activities

Co-editor of the academic journal Health: since 2006.

Member of the editorial board of Arts and Health.

I served on the Executive Committee of the British Sociological Association, with special responsibility for press relations, and also served as an institutional reviewer for the Higher Education Quality Assurance Agency. Until 2005, I was external advisor to the University of South Australia Centre for Sustainable Development.

My work on the Internet and health led to service on various NHS committees, and consultancy work with many NHS organisations and pharmaceutical companies. In 2010, I undertook a commission from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to evaluate the research training provided to their staff.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Current Projects

  • Creativity and health: development of a Deleuzian approach to understanding creativity, and making connections to health.
  • Anti-humanism and Sexuality
  • Emotions and Affect
  • Developing further my work around Health Identities.

Key Publications

For a full list of my publications, please see the link on the right.

I am the author of four full-length books:

The Body (Polity Press, 2012) is a textbook which offers a comprehensive analysis of embodiment, including health and illness, consumption, sexuality, care and technology

Beyond Health: Postmodernism and Embodiment (Free Association Books, 1999) looks at a range of issues in health and health research.

Postmodernism, Sociology and Health (Open University Press 1993) has been very widely cited as a seminal text on the application of post-structuralism in sociology of health.

The Social Meaning of Surgery (Open University Press, 1992) is an ethnographic account of life in the surgical spaces of the modern hospital.

Key journal articles include:

Fox, NJ (2011) 'Boundary Objects, Social Meanings and the Success of New Technologies.' Sociology, 45 (1).

Fox, NJ and Ward, KJ (2008) `What governs governance, and how does it evolve? Towards a dynamic sociology of governance´. British Journal of Sociology, 59 (3), 519-538.

Fox, NJ and Ward, KJ (2008) `Health, Ethics and Environment: a Qualitative Study of Vegetarian Motivations´. Appetite, 50 (2-3), 422-429.

Fox, NJ and Ward, KJ (2008) `You are what you eat? Vegetarians, health and identity´. Social Science and Medicine. 66 (12) 2585-95.

Fox, NJ and Ward, KJ (2008) `Pharma in the bedroom … and the kitchen. The pharmaceuticalisation of daily life´. Sociology of Health and Illness Monograph. 30 (6) 856-868.

Fox, NJ and Ward, KJ (2008) `What are health identities and how may we study them?´ Sociology of Health and Illness, 30 (7) 1007-21.

Fox, NJ (2006) `Health Identities: From Expert Patient to Resisting Consumer´, Health, 10 (4): 461-479.

Fox NJ, Ward, KJ and O´Rourke AJ (2006) `A Sociology of Technology Governance for the Information Age: the Case of Pharmaceutical Consumption´, Sociology 40 (2): 315-334.

Fox NJ, Ward, KJ and O´Rourke AJ (2005) `The Birth of the E-Clinic. Continuity or Transformation in the Governance of Pharmaceutical Consumption?´ Social Science & Medicine 61 (7) 1474-84.

Fox NJ, Ward, KJ and O´Rourke AJ (2005) `Pro-anorexia, Pharmaceuticals and the Internet: Resisting the Medicalisation of Body Shape´, Sociology of Health and Illness, 27 (7): 944-71.

Fox, N.J. (2005) `Cultures of Ageing in Thailand and Australia. (What can an Ageing Body Do?)´, Sociology, 39 (3): 501 - 518.

Fox NJ, Ward, KJ and O´Rourke AJ (2005) `Expert Patients´, Pharmaceuticals and the Medical Model of Disease: The Case of Weight Loss Drugs and the Internet´, Social Science and Medicine, 60 (6): 1299-1309.

Fox, N.J. (2002) `Refracting health: Deleuze, Guattari and body/self´, Health, 6: 347-64.