Professor Nick Fox BSc MSc PhD FHEA

Nick Fox

Section of Public Health
School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR)
University of Sheffield
Regent Court, 30 Regent Street
Sheffield S1 4DA

Tel: +44 (0)114 222 0808
Fax: +44 (0)114 222 0749


Room: 1031


My work as a sociologist addresses a number of key issues in the study of social processes, in health and health care, sexuality, technology and the environment. Research has ranged from doctoral work on the organisation of surgery, through a programme of research on the impact of the Internet on patients and professionals, to most recent work on the governance of health technologies, health identities and embodiment.  An interest in the application of Deleuzian theory to sociology governs my innovative recent work on technology, creativity, emotions and sexuality.

I joined the University of Sheffield in 1988 having cut my academic teeth in the University of Bristol Medical School. Until September 2009, I was ScHARR's Director of Teaching, and also did ten years as Postgraduate Tutor. In 2009 I left the full-time staff and now hold an honorary professor appointment.  I continue to undertake empirical research, organise training for PhD supervisors, and collaborate with colleagues on research projects.  I am currently writing a book for Sage entitled Sociology and the New Materialism, which will be published in 2016.

The Wisdom Centre, of which I am director, grew out of an initial research project to provide educational research and training to the NHS regionally and nationally. It now provides training in clinical governance and research methods to medical staff in the UK and globally, and on social research methods.

I welcome inquiries from potential PhD students.

Recent Publications

Fox, N.J. (2015) Personal health technologies, micropolitics and resistance: a new materialist analysis. Health. doi:10.1177/1363459315590248

Fox, N.J. and Alldred, P. (2015) Inside the Research-Assemblage: New Materialism and the Micropolitics of Social Inquiry. Sociological Research Online. 20 (2), 6  DOI: 10.5153/sro.3578

Alldred, P. and Fox, N.J. (2015) The sexuality-assemblages of young men: a new materialist analysis. Sexualities

Fox, N.J. (2015) Emotions, affects and the production of social life.  British Journal of Sociology

Fox, N.J. and Alldred, P. (2014) New materialist social inquiry: designs, methods and the research-assemblage. International Journal of Social Research Methodology.

Fox, N.J. and Alldred, P. (2013) The sexuality-assemblage: desire, affect, anti-humanism. Sociological Review, 61: 769–789.

Fox, N.J. (2013) Creativity, anti-humanism and the 'new sociology of art'. Journal of Sociology. doi:10.1177/1440783313498947

Fox, N.J. (2013). Creativity and health: an anti-humanist reflection. Health. 17(5): 495–511.

My latest book The Body was published by Polity Press in February 2012. It summarises my new materialist approach to embodiment, drawing on the work of Deleuze and Guattari.

Please consider following me on or Researchgate.  Links are on the right.

Research Interests

  • Embodiment, Health and Identity
  • The Governance of Health Technologies
  • Creativity and Health
  • Sexuality and Affect

My work is widely cited and I have an international reputation for this body of work. I was plenary speaker at the Hellenic Sociological Society conference in Athens in 2009, and have given invited lectures on my work in Australia, Thailand and Portugal.  In 2012, I have been invited to speak at the London and the North West medical sociology seminar series, as well as conference papers at the BSA, Sexual Cultures and Medical Sociology conferences..

In 2007, I was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Adelaide, while in 2006 I held a similar fellowship at the University of Sydney, and also spent time working at Flinders University on a number of collaborations.

Teaching Interests

Although I no longer teach in ScHARR, I retain interests in the delivery and governance of higher education.

I run an independent consultancy known as the Wisdom Centre, which provides online training in Clinical Governance to Yorkshire and Humber NHS Postgraduate Deanery. To date, more than 1000 SpRs have taken the course.

Professional Activities

Co-editor of the academic journal Health: since 2006.

Member of the editorial board of Arts and Health.

I am co-convenor of the British Sociological Association Sociologists Outside Academia, and in that role am a member of the BSA's Advisory Forum, having also been the BSA's press officer from 1989 to 1993.  I served as an institutional reviewer for the Higher Education Quality Assurance Agency. Until 2005, I was external advisor to the University of South Australia Centre for Sustainable Development.

My work on the Internet and health led to service on various NHS committees, and consultancy work with many NHS organisations and pharmaceutical companies. In 2010, I undertook a commission from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to evaluate the research training provided to their staff.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Current Projects

  • Obesity
  • Creativity and health:
  • New materialism and Sexuality
  • Emotions and Affect
  • Developing further my work around Health Technologies specifically Personal Health Technologies.

Key Publications

For a full list of my publications, please see the link on the right.

I am the author of four full-length books:

The Body (Polity Press, 2012) is a textbook which offers a comprehensive analysis of embodiment, including health and illness, consumption, sexuality, care and technology

Beyond Health: Postmodernism and Embodiment (Free Association Books, 1999) looks at a range of issues in health and health research.

Postmodernism, Sociology and Health (Open University Press 1993) has been very widely cited as a seminal text on the application of post-structuralism in sociology of health.

The Social Meaning of Surgery (Open University Press, 1992) is an ethnographic account of life in the surgical spaces of the modern hospital.

Key journal articles include:

Fox, NJ (2011) 'Boundary Objects, Social Meanings and the Success of New Technologies.' Sociology, 45 (1).

Fox, NJ and Ward, KJ (2008) `What governs governance, and how does it evolve? Towards a dynamic sociology of governance´. British Journal of Sociology, 59 (3), 519-538.

Fox, NJ and Ward, KJ (2008) `Health, Ethics and Environment: a Qualitative Study of Vegetarian Motivations´. Appetite, 50 (2-3), 422-429.

Fox, NJ and Ward, KJ (2008) `You are what you eat? Vegetarians, health and identity´. Social Science and Medicine. 66 (12) 2585-95.

Fox, NJ and Ward, KJ (2008) `Pharma in the bedroom … and the kitchen. The pharmaceuticalisation of daily life´. Sociology of Health and Illness Monograph. 30 (6) 856-868.

Fox, NJ and Ward, KJ (2008) `What are health identities and how may we study them?´ Sociology of Health and Illness, 30 (7) 1007-21.

Fox, NJ (2006) `Health Identities: From Expert Patient to Resisting Consumer´, Health, 10 (4): 461-479.

Fox NJ, Ward, KJ and O´Rourke AJ (2006) `A Sociology of Technology Governance for the Information Age: the Case of Pharmaceutical Consumption´, Sociology 40 (2): 315-334.

Fox NJ, Ward, KJ and O´Rourke AJ (2005) `The Birth of the E-Clinic. Continuity or Transformation in the Governance of Pharmaceutical Consumption?´ Social Science & Medicine 61 (7) 1474-84.

Fox NJ, Ward, KJ and O´Rourke AJ (2005) `Pro-anorexia, Pharmaceuticals and the Internet: Resisting the Medicalisation of Body Shape´, Sociology of Health and Illness, 27 (7): 944-71.

Fox, N.J. (2005) `Cultures of Ageing in Thailand and Australia. (What can an Ageing Body Do?)´, Sociology, 39 (3): 501 - 518.

Fox NJ, Ward, KJ and O´Rourke AJ (2005) `Expert Patients´, Pharmaceuticals and the Medical Model of Disease: The Case of Weight Loss Drugs and the Internet´, Social Science and Medicine, 60 (6): 1299-1309.

Fox, N.J. (2002) `Refracting health: Deleuze, Guattari and body/self´, Health, 6: 347-64.