Health, Risk & Society Celebrates 21 Years of Publication
Introduction to the Virtual Special Issue – Health, Risk and Society celebrates 21 years of publication
This virtual special issue has been compiled to mark, and indeed to celebrate, 21 years since the first issue of Health, Risk & Society was published. What began as a more UK-oriented venture by Andy Alaszewski and Jill Manthorpe, alongside Carfax Publishing, has since evolved into an international journal which plays a very valuable role in informing critical social science practice, theory and debate in studies of risk and uncertainty, especially as these relate to health and social care. As Editor until very recently, Andy Alaszewski has been central to this development and the journal has also benefitted from the support, marketing and distribution of Taylor & Francis/Routledge with its global reach. Recent articles include studies of risk practices, understandings and governance in Japan, China, Brazil, Indonesia and Myanmar, among other countries, and authorship and readership data make clear that this is now an increasingly global journal.
In reflecting key steps in the journey of the journal, the 21 articles brought together below reflect a somewhat less global, more ‘Anglo’ academic community – as was typical of critical studies of risk and uncertainty in the earlier phases of the growth of this intellectual field. The studies below are very much UK- or Australia-based, with one North American exception. In this and other senses the collection does not do full justice to the breadth of research published in the journal over the past 21 years. What these articles do reflect more effectively is the range of methodological approaches – from focus groups, to in-depth interviews, to survey and documentary approaches, to ethnography – and topics – pregnancy and child-birth, mental health care, child protection, food, parenting, healthcare governance, biotechnology, gender and sex – which have been common to the journal. But above all these articles were chosen by myself and the editorial board on the basis of their influence on the field, their unusual quality, being distinctive and defining of the journal, and being widely read, admired and engaged with. A glance down this list makes me grateful to have recently become Editor and very enthusiastic about how the field and the journal is continuing to develop as we head further into the journal’s third decade.
Patrick Brown, Amsterdam, February 2020.