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Desynchronised times? Chronobiology, (bio)medicalisation and the rhythms of life itself

journal contribution
posted on 15.07.2021, 15:25 by Simon J Williams, Robert Meadows, Katie Coveney
This paper takes a critical look at the role of chronobiology in society today, with particular reference to its entanglements with health and medicine and whether or not this amounts to the (bio)medicalisation of our bodily rhythms. What we have here, we show, is a complex unfolding storyline, within and beyond medicine. On the one hand, the promises and problems of these circadian, infradian and ultradian rhythms for our health and well-being are now increasingly emphasised. On the other hand, a variety of new rhythmic interventions and forms of governance are now emerging within and beyond medicine, from chronotherapies and chronopharmacology to biocompatible school and work schedules, and from chronodiets to the optimisation of all we do according to our ‘chronotypes’. Conceptualising these developments, we suggest challenges us to think within and beyond medicalisation to wider processes of biomedicalisation and the biopolitics of our body clocks: a vital new strand of chronopolitics today indeed which implicates us all in sickness and in health as the very embodiment of these rhythms of life itself. The paper concludes with a call for further research on these complex unfolding relations between chronobiology, health and society in these desynchronised times of ours.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Social and Policy Studies

Published in

Sociology of Health & Illness

Publisher

Wiley

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness

Publisher statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: WILLIAMS, S.J., MEADOWS, R., and COVENEY, C.M., 2021. Desynchronised times? Chronobiology, (bio)medicalisation and the rhythms of life itself. Sociology of Health & Illness, doi:10.1111/1467-9566.13324, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.13324. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

Acceptance date

07/06/2021

Publication date

2021-07-13

Copyright date

2021

ISSN

0141-9889

eISSN

1467-9566

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Katie Coveney. Deposit date: 15 July 2021

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