Dr Catherine Coveney

PhD in Science and Technology Studies, MA in Social Research Methods, BSc in Genetics

  • School Research Ethics Lead
  • Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Catherine is a medical sociologist with expertise in social and ethical aspects of medicine and health care. She has particular research interests in the sociology of sleep, medical technology, and disability. Catherine is the School of Social Sciences and Humanities Ethics Lead and Criminology, Sociology and Social Policy Lead Admissions officer.

Catherine has been a senior lecturer in Sociology at Loughborough since 2018. She was co-convener of the British Sociological Association Medical Sociology Group (2019 – 2021). Before this she worked as a research fellow in the Centre for Reproduction Research at De Montfort University (2017-8), the Centre for Global Health Policy at the University of Sussex (2014-7), the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick (2010-2014) and the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy at the University of Nottingham (2009 -2010).

Catherine's research interests fall at the intersection between medical sociology, Science and Technology Studies (STS) and bioethics, focusing on the sociological and ethical aspects of health and biomedicine. Her research is known for its strong empirical focus and its theoretical contributions to key debates in medical sociology on medicalisation, pharmaceuticalisation, the sociology of sleep, chronic illness and human enhancement. She has expertise in qualitative research with health service providers and patients/ users and experience of conducting research in partnership with third sector organisations.

Her current research “Living with Noonan Syndrome” (funded by the Noonan Syndrome Association) focuses on parent-carers experiences of caring for a child with rare genetic disease.

Her previous research has focused on a range of different health/care technologies, looking at experiences and practices of egg donation in Europe, the moral meanings of medicines in everyday life, the sociology of human enhancement, the medicalization and pharmaceuticalisation of sleep, the domestication of digital self-tracking technologies in health practices, the use of telephone crisis helplines in the delivery of emotional support, the ethics of using novel experimental biological therapies in the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries in the world of elite sport, the uses of alternative medicine and the commodification and commercialization of biological material in the emerging bioeconomy.

  • SSC022 Health, the Body and Culture
  • SSC033 Sociological Futures
  • SSC024 Gender, Sex and Society
  • SSB010 Social Theories
  • SSA003 Sociological Imagination

Catherine welcomes PhD students, particularly in sociology of health and medicine.

Current postgraduate research students:

  • Haojie Fang (2022 – 25) From Traditional to digital matchmaking in China: Finding partners across platforms between individualism and familism. Chinese Scholarship Council PhD studentship. With P.Saukko and J. Robles.
  • Taylor, Chantelle (2020 -) “Sharing the Narrative: Exploring how women’s past experiences of mental health problems following childbirth can help those currently suffering with perinatal mental health issues. (ESRC 1 +3 funded). With L. Nyhagen.
  • David Evans. A qualitative study exploring managerial and donor perspectives of charitable impact, efficacy, and the effective altruism movement. With T. Thurnell-Read and M. Pino.