Janet Shim

Associate Professor, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
University of California, San Francisco
CSTMS Research Unit: Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies

Shim's research lies at the intersections of three major arenas within sociology: the sociology of health and illness, of science, technology,and medicine, and of racial, class, and gender inequality. She particularly interested in tracing the relationships between conceptions of risk, definitions of difference, the organization of biomedical science and clinical practice, and the social and cultural landscape. Shim uses social constructionist and symbolic interactionist approaches to investigate social inequalities in health, particularly heart disease; expert and lay knowledge of disease causation; and knowledge production in biomedicine, public health, and population sciences. In the recent past, Shim has also examined, in collaboration with Sharon Kaufman and Ann Russ, uses of medical technologies in late life. Publications include, among others, articles in Sociology of Health and Illness, health, Social Studies of Science, and PLoS Medicine. She is currently conducting qualitative research on disciplinary theories and practices in epidemiology aimed at addressing multi-level disease causation and health disparities and working on a book-length project on the uses of racial, socioeconomic, and gender categories in epidemiological research. She is also a co-investigator on a comparative study of how first-degree relatives of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease think about emergent genetic knowledge, the benefits and hazards of genetic testing, and aging and health promotion in the context of genetic risk.

last updated: March 26th, 2018