I am an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and I have the privilege of managing the research group on Political Sociology, within the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research. I am currently the Chair of the research network on Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty (RN22) within the European Sociological Association and since 2018 I have been editor of Health, Risk & Society.
My research mainly focusses upon social processes by which individuals, groups and organisations cope with vulnerability and uncertainty - including risk, trust, hope, ritual, and faith for example - and the way these processes shape one another, wider organisational dynamics and the everyday practices of professionals and patients. In researching and conceptualising these phenomena, I have drawn on a range of social and political theory, particularly work by Mary Douglas, Norbert Elias, Jürgen Habermas and Alfred Schütz.
On a more applied level - I have worked on or coordinated a number of projects funded by, or carried out in cooperation with, organisations such as the Royal College of Physicians, the European Commission, the UK Government (Department of Work and Pensions) and the European Medicines Agency, looking at various aspects of client-experiences, trust and engagement of patients and professionals, and the implications of these for policy-making.
I recently finished a book On Vulnerability (Routledge 2021) and am currently working with colleagues at Århus, Leiden and Vienna on the REACTOR project, financed by DFF (Independent Research Fund Denmark). By combining the sociology of authority and knowledge with public opinion research, we are investigating various claims regarding a 'post-truth' world, particularly whether ordinary citizens resist established authorities in professional expertise, politics and media information and whether resistance is linked across domains. We also aim to develop an in-depth understanding of what motivates resistance to or mistrust of knowledge and authorities, as grasped from the citizens' perspectives.
In the short-term, I am co-organising a PhD Workshop on risk and uncertainty which will take place in early September. See more info here
Brown, P. (2021) On Vulnerability. Oxford: Routledge.
Brown, P. (ed.) (2017) Theories of Uncertainty and Risk Across Different Modernities. London: Routledge.
Brown, P. and Oloffson, A. (eds.) (2016) Risk, Uncertainty and Policy. London: Routledge.
Brown, P. and Calnan, M. (2012) Trusting on the Edge: Managing uncertainty and vulnerability in the midst of severe mental health problems. Bristol: Policy Press *
Alaszewski, A. and Brown, P.(2012) Making Health Policy: a critical introduction. Cambridge: Polity
* Short-listed for the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness Book Prize, 2014.
Brown, P. (2021) Social Theories of Risk. in: Elliott, A. (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Social and Cultural Theory . London: Routledge; second edition.
Brown, P. and van Eijk, N. (2021) Cultural processes shaping stop-and-check practices and interaction dynamics in a large Dutch city: police vulnerabilities, thought-styles and rituals. British Journal Of Criminology - open access
van der Molen, M. and Brown, P. (2021) Following Dutch healthcare professionals’ experiences during COVID-19: tensions in everyday practices and policies amid shifting uncertainties. Current Sociology - forthcoming - DOI: 10.1177/0011392121990019 - open access
Boersma, J. & Brown, P. (2020) The tired hero and her (il)legitimation: reworking Parsons to analyse experiences of burnout within the Dutch employment system and lifeworld. Social Science & Medicine, 265: 113471 - open access
Brown, P. (2020) Studying COVID-19 in light of critical approaches to risk and uncertainty: research pathways, conceptual tools, and some magic from Mary Douglas. Health, Risk & Society 22(1):1-14 open access
Brown, P. (2020) Exploração dos riscos pelos modelos de gestão e confiança nas relações de trabalho. In: Sousa-Duarte, F., Peres Facas, E. & Magnólia Mendes, A. (eds) Psicopolítica e Psicopatologia do Trabalho. Brasilia: Editora FI - open access book
Marshall, A., Brown, P. & Ojiako, U. (2020) The Lion and Fox Animal Spirits of Machiavelli and Pareto: a framework for studying organisational micro-politics. Revue européenne des sciences sociales 58(1):13-40.
Rayment, J., Sidhu, M., Wright, P., Brown, P., Greenfield, S., Jeffreys, S., and Gale, N. (2020) Collaboration for impact: co-creating a workforce development toolkit using an arts-based approach. International Journal of Integrated Care online early
Sousa-Duarte, F., Brown, P., Magnólia Mendes, A. (2020) Healthcare professionals’ trust in patients: a review of the empirical and theoretical literatures. Sociology Compass, open access Online Early version
Brown, P., Flores, R., and Alaszewski, A. (2019) Understanding policy scandals in historical context: a longer-term lens for policy analysis. Journal of Social Policy - forthcoming - open access.
Brown, P. and Bahri, P. (2019) "‘Engagement’ of patients and healthcare professionals in regulatory pharmacovigilance: establishing a conceptual and methodological framework. European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology - online early.
Gale, N., Brown, P., Sidhu, M. (2018) Co-production in the epidemiological clinic: a decentred analysis of the tensions in community-based, client-facing risk work. Social Policy &Administration 53(2):203-218.
Topçu, S. and Brown, P. (2019) The impact of technology on pregnancy and childbirth: creating and managing obstetrical risk in different cultural and socio-economic contexts. Health, Risk & Society 21(3-4):89-99.
Brown, P. and Gale, N. (2018) Theorising risk work: analysing professionals’ lifeworlds and practices. Professions and Professionalism 8(1):1988
Brown, P. and Flores, R. (2018) The informalisation of professional–patient interactions and the consequences for regulation in the United Kingdom, in J.M. Chamberlain; M. Dent and M. Saks (eds.) Professional Health Regulation in the Public Interest, Bristol: Policy Press; pp. 39-60.
Brown, P., Moerman, G. & Broer, P. (2018) Interviews as a means of exploring risk lifeworlds: excavating the roots of everyday meanings, experiences and practices. in A. Olofsson and J. Zinn (eds.) Researching Risk and Uncertainty: methodologies, methods and research strategies. London: Palgrave; pp.205-230. (out Nov 2018)
Doyle, J., Colville, S., Brown, P. and Christie, D. (2018) How adolescents decide upon bariatric surgery: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Clinical Obesity 8(2):114-121.
Flores, R. and Brown, P. (2018) The changing place of care and compassion within the English NHS: an Eliasean perspective. Social Theory and Health 16(2):156-171.
Hashem, F., Calnan, M. and Brown, P. (2018) Decision-making in NICE single technological appraisals (STAs): How does NICE incorporate patient perspectives? Health Expectations 21(1):128-137. open access version here
Calnan, M., Hashem, F. and Brown, P. (2017) Still Elegantly Muddling Through? NICE and Uncertainty in Decision Making About the Rationing of Expensive Medicines in England. International Journal of Health Services 47(3):571-594. online early
Kweekel, L., Gerrits, T., Rijnders, M., & Brown, P. (2017) The role of trust in CenteringPregnancy: Building interpersonal trust relationships in group-based prenatal care in the Netherlands. Birth 44(1):41-47 DOI: 10.1111/birt.12260
Veltkamp, G. and Brown, P. (2017) The everyday ‘risk work’ of Dutch child-healthcare professionals: Inferring ‘safe’ and ‘good’ parenting through trust, as mediated by a lens of gender and class. Sociology of Health and Illness 39(8):1297-1313. Open access version
Brown, P. (2016) From rationalities to lifeworlds: analysing the everyday handling of uncertainty and risk in terms of culture, society and identity. Health, Risk & Society 18(7-8): 335-347.
Gale, N., Thomas, G., Thwaites, R., Greenfield, S. & Brown, P. (2016) Towards a sociology of risk work: a narrative review and synthesis. Sociology Compass 10(11):1046-1071
Brown, P. & Calnan, M. (2016) Chains of (dis)trust: exploring the underpinnings of knowledge sharing and quality care across mental health services. Sociology of Health and Illness 38(2): 286-305.
Brown, P., Hashem, F. and Calnan, M. (2016) Trust, regulatory processes and NICE decision-making: Appraising cost-effectiveness models through appraising people and systems. Social Studies of Science 46(1):87-111.
Cuijpers, N. & Brown, P. (2016) Symbolic and Systemic Violence in Media Representations of Aggression towards Ambulance Personnel in the Netherlands. Society, Health and Vulnerability 7:1 - doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/shv.v7.28669 (Open access)
Brown, P. (2016) Trust and Risk. in Burgess, A., Alemanno, A. and Zinn, J. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Risk Studies. London: Routledge; pp. 49-57.
Brown, P. and Calnan, M. (2016) Professionalism, trust and cooperation, in: Dent, M., Bourgeault, I., Denis, J-L., Kuhlmann, E. (eds.) The Routledge Companion to the Professions and Professionalism. London: Routledge; pp. 1290-143.
Brown, P. (2015) Theorising Uncertainty and Risk across Different Modernities: considering insights from ‘non-North-Western’ studies. Health, Risk & Society 17(3-4):185-195 - editorial as part of a wider theory-focused special double issue.
Brown, P., Elston, ME. and Gabe, J. (2015) From patient deference towards negotiated and precarious informality: An Eliasian analysis of English general practitioners' understandings of changing patient relations. Social Science & Medicine 146:164-172 - open access
Brown, P., de Graaf, S., Hillen, M., Smets, E., Laarhoven, H.W. (2015) The interweaving of pharmaceutical and medical expectations as dynamics of micro-pharmaceuticalisation: advanced-stage cancer patients' hope in medicines alongside trust in professionals. Social Science & Medicine 131: 313-21.
Brown, P., de Graaf, S. and Hillen, M. (2015) The inherent tensions and ambiguities of hope: Towards a post-formal analysis of experiences of advanced-cancer patients. Health 19(2):207-225.
Brown, P. and Meyer, S. (2015) Dependency, trust and choice? Examining agency and ‘forced options’ within secondary-healthcare contexts. Current Sociology 63(5):729-745
Ward, P., Rokkas, P., Cenko, C., Pulvirenti, M., Carney, S., Brown, P., Calnan, M. & Meyer, S. (2015) A qualitative study of patient (dis)trust in public and private hospitals: the importance of choice and pragmatic acceptance for trust considerations in South Australia. BMC Health Services Research 15:297 - open access
Alaszewski, A. and Brown, P. (2015) Time, risk and health. In Chamberlain, M. (ed.) Medicine, Discourse and Power. London: Routledge (forthcoming Dec 2015).
Brown, P. (2015) Using drugs in the midst of uncertainty – developing a Habermasian understanding of medicines lifeworlds. In Chamberlain, M. (ed.) Medicine, Discourse and Power. London: Routledge (forthcoming Dec 2015).
Brown, P. (2015) Alfred Schutz: The Co-Construction of meaning within professional-patient interaction, in F, Collyer (ed.) Handbook of Social Theory of Health and Medicine. London: Palgrave; chapter 11.
Brown, P. (2014) Risk and Social Theory: the legitimacy of risks and risk as a tool of legitimation. Health, Risk & Society 16(5):391-397.
Brown, P. and Olofsson, A. (2014) Risk, Uncertainty and Policy: towards a social-dialectical understanding. Journal of Risk Research 17(4):425-434.
Doyle, J., Colville, S., Brown, P. and Christie, D. (2014) Exploring Uncertainty in Adolescent Bariatric Teams: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Clinical Obesity 4(1):45-52.
Brown, P. (2014) The 1980 Black Report. in: Taylor, P., Corteen, K., and Morley, S.(Eds) A Companion to Criminal Justice, Mental Health and Risk, Bristol, UK: The Policy Press.
Brown, P. & de Graaf, S. (2013) Considering a future which might not exist: the construction of time and expectations amidst advanced-stage cancer. Health, Risk & Society 15(6):543-560.
Brown, P. and Calnan, M. (2013) NICE technology appraisals: working with multiple levels of uncertainty and the potential for bias. Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy 16(2):281-93. (see link to Open Access version).
Brown, P. and Calnan, M. (2013) Trust as a means of bridging the management of risk and the meeting of need: a case study in mental health service provision. Social Policy and Administration 47(3):242-61.
Brown, P. (2013) Social Theories of Risk. in: Elliott, A. (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Social and Cultural Theory . London: Routledge. Recently published - see here.
Brown, P. (2013) Risk and social theory - a new venture and some new avenues. Health, Risk & Society 15(8): 624-633
Brown, P., Heyman, B. and Alaszewski, A. (2013) Time Framing and Health Risks: An editorial. Health, Risk & Society 15(6): 479-88. Open access version here
Heyman, B., Alaszewski, A. and Brown, P. (2013) Probabalistic thinking and health risks: an editorial. Health, Risk and Society 15(1):1-11.
Heyman, B. and Brown, P. (2013) Perspectives on the 'lens' of risk: interview series: Interviews with Judith Green and Peter Taylor-Gooby. Health, Risk and Society 15(1):12-26.
Heyman, B. and Brown, P. (2013) Perspectives on ‘The Lens of Risk’ interview series: Interviews with Tom Horlick-Jones, Paul Slovic and Andy Alaszewski. Health, Risk & Society 15(6):494-510.
Brown, P. (2012) A nudge in the right direction? Towards a sociological engagement with libertarian paternalism. Social Policy and Society 11(3): 305-17 (see link to paper here).
Brown,P. and Calnan,M. (2012) Braving a faceless new world? Conceptualising trust in the pharmaceutical industry and its products. Health 16(1):57-75.
Brown, P., Lang, G. and Resch, K. (2012) Evidence-based health promotion for older people and instrumentalisation: comparing the influence of policy-contexts in Austria and England. Critical Public Health 22(4): 441-453.
Heyman, B., Alaszewski, A. and Brown, P. (2012) Health care through the 'lens of risk' and the categorisation of health risks - An editorial. Health, Risk and Society 14(2): 107-115.
Heyman, B. and Brown, P. (2012) Perspectives on the 'lens of risk' interview series: Interview with Nick Pidgeon. Health, Risk and Society 14(2):117-127
Heyman, B., Alaszewski, A. and Brown, P. (2012) Values and health risks - An editorial. Health, Risk and Society 14(5): 399-408.
Brown, P. and Heyman, B. (2012) Perspectiveson the 'lens of risk' interview series: Interviews with Ortwin Renn and Joost van Loon. Health,Risk and Society 14(5): 415-25.
Brown, P., Vainieri, M., Bonini,A., Nuti, S. and Calnan, M. (2012) What might the English NHS learn about qualityfrom Tuscany? Moving from financial and bureaucratic incentives towards'social' drivers. Social and Public Policy Review 6(2): 30-46. (see link to Open Access version here)
Brown, P. (2011) The Dark Side of Hope and Trust: constructed expectationsand the value-for-money regulation of new medicines. Health Sociology Review 20(4): 407-19.
Brown, P., Alaszewski, A., Swift, T. and Nordin, A. (2011) Actions speak louder than words: the embodiment of trust by healthcare professionals in gynae-oncology. Sociology of Health and Illness 33(2): 280-95.
Brown, P. (2011) The concept of lifeworld as a tool in analysing health-care work: exploring professionals’ resistance to governance through subjectivity, norms and experiential knowledge. Social Theory and Health 9(2): 147-165.
Brown, P. and Calnan, M. (2011) The Civilizing Process of Trust: developing quality mechanisms which are local, professional-led and thus legitimate. Social Policy and Administration 45(1): 19-34.
Brown, P.,Alaszewski, A.,Pilgrim,D. and Calnan, M. (2011) The quality of interaction between health service managers and frontline clinicians:a question of trust. Public Money & Management 31(1): 43-50.
Edwards, S., Brown, P., Twyman, M., Christie, D.and Rakow, T. (2011) A qualitative investigation of selecting surrogate decision-makers. Journalof Medical Ethics 37 (10):601-605.
Brown, P. and Flores, R. (2011) Making Normative Structures Visible: the British National Health Service and the Hospice Movement as Signifiers of Compassion and Hope. Acta Sociologica 54 (1): 61-75.
Brown, P. and Vickerstaff, S. (2011) Health subjectivitiesand labour market participation: pessimism and older workers' attitudes and narratives around retirement in the UK. Research on Aging 33(5):529-550.
Maidment, I., Brown, P. and Calnan, M. (2011) An exploratory study of the role of trust in medication management within mental health services. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy 33(4): 614-20.
Calnan, M. and Brown, P. (2011) The reconfiguration of trust relations in healthcare? in: C, Phellas (ed.) Sociological Perspectives of Health & Illness. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Brown, P. and Calnan, M.(2010) Political accountability of explicit rationing: legitimacy problems faced by NICE. Journal of Health Services Research and Policy 15: 65-66.
Brown, P., Billings , J., Wagg, A., Potter, J. (2010) Is it possible to measure what truly matters? The paradox of clinical audit in developing continence service standards for older people. The Patient: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research 3(1):11-23
Brown, P. and Calnan, M. (2010) The Risks of Managing Uncertainty:the limitations of governance and choice, and the potential for trust. Social Policy and Society 9(1): 13-24.
Brown, P. (2009) The phenomenology of trust: a Schutzian analysis of the social construction of knowledge bygynae-oncology patients. Health, Risk and Society 11(5): 391-407.
Brown, P., Bickley, P. and Wooley, P. (2009) Religion and the National Health Service: a report for Barking and Dagenham Primary Care Trust. London: Theos.
Brown, P., Calnan, M., Scrivener, A. and Szmukler, G. (2009) Trust in Mental Health Services: a neglected concept. Journal of Mental Health 18(5): 449-58.
Brown, P. (2008) Legitimacy chasing its own tale: theorising clinical governance through a critique of instrumental reason. Social Theory and Health 6(2):184-199.
Brown, P. (2008) Trusting in the New NHS: instrumental versus communicative action. Sociology of Health and Illness 30(3):349-363.
Vickerstaff, S., Loretto, W., Billings, J., Brown, P., Mitton, L., Parkin, T. and White, P.(2008) Encouraging labour market activity among60-64 year olds. Department for Work and Pensions (UK Government), Research Report No. 531. London: HMSO.
Alaszewski,A. and Brown, P. (2007) Risk,uncertainty and knowledge. Health, Risk and Society 9(1):1-10.
Brown, P. (2006) Risk versus need in revising the 1983 Mental Health Act: conflicting claims,muddled policy. Health, Risk and Society 8(4):343-358.
The Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty research network (RN22) of the European Sociological Association (ESA) will hold its third PhD Workshop this summer on 6th - 8th September.
The workshop will follow on from the main ESA conference the preceding week. This conference is currently organised as a hybrid format, both in Barcelona and online. Our workshop will take place solely online to increase accessibility, but with an engaging combination of work and social activities. You do not need to take part in the main conference to attend the workshop.
After two very successful PhD workshops in the past in Amsterdam (NL) and Kaunas (LIT), we will build on our experiences to offer an online format which will bring a group of PhD students together to think critically through their research, to learn about emerging approaches to doing theory and methods, to raise important challenges and conundrums, and to get feedback on their writing and thinking. Senior scholars in the research network will be involved to teach, engage and provide feedback.
We welcome applications from PhD students at any point in their research and writing trajectories, who are keen to learn, share and critically reflect on their work, the work of others, and of the heterogeneous disciplinary traditions the workshop will reflect. We are a broad network, representing analytic, interpretative and other traditions in analysing a wide array of social processes and contexts characterised by risk and uncertainty. Past workshops have brought together PhDs from governance and policy studies, applied approaches to health, medicine and midwifery, material semiotics/ANT perspectives, gender studies, organisational studies and other social science domains. This multi-disciplinary, multi-method and theoretically diverse environment, convened by experienced scholars from the research network, makes for a vital and stimulating learning environment.
The workshop will be convened by Patrick Brown (University of Amsterdam) and Maria Grazia Galantino (Sapienza University, Rome), who currently chair the ESA Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty research network, along with Anna Olofsson, a very experienced professor of risk research (Mid-Sweden University) and Veronica Moretti (University of Bologna), the PhD coordinator in the network. We plan on engaging other senior scholars from the network and beyond, in relation to specific topics or themes across the PhDs attending.
The online format will be structured around afternoon meetings for teaching and feeding back on each other’s work, alongside a regular communal morning coffee (‘fika’ in Swedish) and other social activities to foster cooperation, support and the building of friendships and networks.
The costs of the workshop are covered by the ESA and the research network, though we do ask that applicants commit to attending all afternoon sessions and other social activities across the three days of the workshop.
To apply, please submit an extended abstract (350-450 words), based on the chapter or article you would like to be discussed at the workshop, or reflecting the broader PhD study, as a Word.doc or PDF which you should send to both Patrick Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Veronica Moretti (email@example.com)
The deadline for abstract submissions is March 15th and we will let you know about whether you are accepted by mid-April. We will limit numbers to enhance the social and intellectual exchange.