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Professor Latimer began in Literature at London University, went on to become a nurse, and ran an acute medical unit in Edinburgh. There she won a Government fellowship to train as a social scientist. Her first academic post was as Senior Research Fellow in Nursing and Honorary Research Fellow to the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, at Keele University. She was next Research Officer in the Keele Centre for Social Gerontology, and in 1999 moved to a Lectureship in Social Science at the newly founded school in Cardiff, progressing to Reader in 2007.Professor Latimer's PHD was on the diagnosis, assessment and care of older people in acute medicine. Her book The Conduct of Care analyzed how the bedsides of older people are sites of organizational politics and identity-work. She illuminates the mundane processes of inclusion and exclusion that make the experience of being older, and the experience of working with older people, deeply precarious in contemporary medical cultures. More recent work builds on theories of the body to explore how biomedical, social and philosophical theories raise important issues for ideas of personhood, relationality and the nature/culture divide. Her field research on dysmorphology, a specialty within genetic medicine, interrogates how changing understandings of biology, the body and relationality interact with cultural preoccupations with appearance and essence, and humanist ideas about what it is to be a person, welfare and social justice. Professor Latimer's publications in social theory and ethnography include articles in texts at the cutting edge of debate to offer new ways of understanding power, social ordering and culture. Key ideas here include ‘the constituting of classes’, ‘motility’, ‘relational extension’, ‘keeping’, ‘dwelling’ and ‘dividuality’. Her current studies press divisions between nature and culture, human and non-human, death and life, the normal and the pathological, in an on-going ethnography of the social, cultural and ethical implications of anti-ageing science, medicine, and care.
Within Cardiff School of Social Sceinces Joanna is co-chair of the the Culture Imagination and Practice research group.
Latimer, Joanna & Michael Schillmeier (Eds). 2009. "Introduction." Un/knowing Bodies. Sociological Review Monographs, 2009. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Un/Knowing Bodies brings together leading international authors from across the social science disciplines to explore contemporary re-theorising of bodies as known, knowing and unknowing. It is based on a colloquium funded by The Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness. Chapters present cutting-edge research on ageing, disability and biomedicine, together with original philosophical debate about the body and embodiment. The book offers exciting and creative approaches to researching disembodiment and to the practice, organization and conduct of care.