Sickle Cell and the Social Sciences: Health, Racism and Disablement, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Sickle Cell and the Social Sciences

Health, Racism and Disablement, 1st Edition

By Simon M. Dyson


240 pages

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Hardback: 9781138298392
pub: 2019-04-15
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Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a severe chronic illness, and one of the world’s most common genetic conditions, with up to 400,000 children born annually with the disorder, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, India, Brazil, and the Middle East. Often a condition rendered invisible in policy terms because of its problematic association with politically marginalized groups, the social study of sickle cell has been neglected. This illuminating volume explores the challenges and possibilities for developing a social view of sickle cell, and for improving the quality of lives of those living with SCD. The book offers:

  • A brief thematic history of approaches to sickle cell disease
  • Assessments of the role of ethnicity and migration in framing our understanding of SCD
  • Debates appraising both newborn and prenatal screening for SCD
  • Chapters focusing on sickle cell in relation to athletics and military training; criminal justice systems, and schools.
  • A discussion of how a revised social model of disability can enable people with SCD to prosper
  • A wide range of original research conducted in the USA, the UK, Ghana and Nigeria.

This book is anchored in the discipline of sociology, but draws upon a diverse range of fields including public health, anthropology, social policy and disability studies. The volume explores the challenges and possibilities for developing a social view of sickle cell disease, but notes how notions of the social require expanding to incorporate non-human actors such as mosquitoes, ecologies and climates, issues that will come into sharper focus as the twenty-first century unfolds. Sickle Cell Disease and the Social Sciences will appeal to postgraduate students and academics interested in the sociology of health, the sociology of racism and ethnicity, as well as those specialising in sickle cell disease and the social aspects of disease from a more clinical perspective.

Table of Contents


1. Sickle Cell and the Simplifications of Science

2. Why Genes are not "For" Sickle Cell

3. A Social History of Sickle Cell Part I: Sickle Cell and Malaria

4. A Social History of Sickle Cell Part II: Politics and Molecules

5. Sickle Cell and Athletes

6. Sickle Cell and Deaths in State Custody

7. Ethnicity and Sickle Cell

8. Genetic Carriers and Antenatal Screening

9. Newborn Screening

10. SCD and the Social Model of Disability

11. Sickle Cell and Social Policy: The Case of SCD and Schools


About the Author

Simon Dyson is Professor of Applied Sociology at De Montfort University, UK. His research interests and expertise include social aspects of sickle cell and thalassemia, social policy, social theory and social research methods.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in the Sociology of Health and Illness

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Disease & Health Issues