Picture of Kate WeinerDr Kate Weiner

Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Post-graduate Research Admissions Tutor
Research theme lead for Science Technology and Medicine in Society (STeMiS)

(BSc, MA, PhD)


Telephone: 0114 222 6491 (external), 26491 (internal)
Room: Elmfield, LG22


Kate joined the department as a faculty research fellow in September 2012 and became a lecturer in September 2015. Before this, she completed her PhD and two personal fellowships at the University of Nottingham and then worked as an advisor on the NIHR-funded Research Design Service at the University of Manchester.

Kate works at the intersection of medical sociology and science and technology studies. She is interested in the construction of biomedical knowledge and the interplay between lay and professional knowledge, user-technology relations with everyday health practices and their implications for health care. Kate has undertaken research in the areas of genetics, heart disease and patient’s organisations. Recent research has focused on the everyday accounts of and practices with pharmaceuticals, foods and self-monitoring.


Kate's doctoral research, completed in 2006, looked at lay and professional constructions of familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), a treatable hereditary condition associated with heart disease. Her analysis focussed on the themes of geneticisation, genetic responsibility and biosociality, three prominent concepts in discussions of the social implications of genetic knowledge.

Subsequent research projects looked at more mundane health technologies for cholesterol management. A two-year project funded by a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship focused on cholesterol-lowering foods containing plant sterols. A parallel project undertaken in collaboration with Catherine Will at the University of Sussex, and funded by an ESRC small grant, looked at prescription and over-the-counter statins. Kate's current research is expanding this work on consumer health technologies, looking at self-monitoring technologies such as blood pressure monitors and weighing scales/BMI monitors. All of these studies consider professional expectations as well as people’s accounts of why and how they adopt and use, or don't use, particular products or technologies. They consider the way responsibilities for health are distributed, the practices involved and the implications for forms of expertise in relation to health care. The work critically engages with notions of 'self-care' and 'health behaviours', proposing alternative lenses such as care infrastructures and practice theory approaches.

Kate continues to be interested in developments in the biomedical sciences. She recently completed research on the routine practices of racialised prescribing, in collaboration with Andrew Smart at Bath Spa University and contributed to an interdisciplinary network of researchers interested in epigenetics, led by Vincent Cunliffe in Biomedical Science at University of Sheffield.

Research interests:

  • everyday health practices
  • mundane health technologies
  • self-monitoring, self-care
  • social implications of biomedical developments eg genomics, epigenetics
  • social categories in the clinic
  • qualitative research methods.
Funded Research Projects
Date Sponsor Details
2016 - 2019 Leverhulme Trust Knowledge, care and the practices of self-monitoring http://tracking-ourselves.group.shef.ac.uk/.
2015-17 ESRC/BBSRC EpiStressNet: A biosocial systems approach to understanding the epigenetic embedding of social stress responses.
2015-17 ESRC New practices for new publics: interdisciplinary dialogues about practice theory approaches and civil society. Seminar series.
2014-15 Wellcome Trust Racialized Medicine: the use of racial/ethnic categories in prescribing guidance.
2012-15 University of Sheffield, Faculty of Social Sciences Self-monitoring and consumer health technologies in the domestic, commercial and virtual realms.
2010-11 Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness Pharmaceutical dissent in comparative perspective.
2009-11 ESRC DIY heart health: accounting for the ‘use’ of over-the-counter statins.
2008-10 Leverhulme Trust Phytosterols: public expectations and user practices’.
2006-08 ESRC/MRC Lipids, genetics and coronary heart disease: the construction of a field.


Kate currently teaches and supervises students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Kate currently convenes the following modules:

  • Introduction to Social Research (undergraduate)
  • Digital Health (undergraduate and postgraduate)

Kate also supervises students taking extended essays and dissertations in Sociology and Social Policy, and Digital Media and Society.

Postgraduate Supervision

Kate is currently supervising PhDs on children's experiences of ecigarettes; digital self-tracking; everyday life with Irritable Bowel Syndrome; and the experiences of people living with sickle cell of forming romantic relationships and having children.

She welcomes applications to study full or part-time with her for PhD research degrees relating to any of her interests.

Find out more about our PhD programmes.


Key Publications

Williams, R., Weiner, K., Henwood, F. & Will, C. (2018) Constituting practices, shaping markets: remaking healthy living through commercial promotion of blood pressure monitors and scales, Critical Public Health, DOI: 10.1080/09581596.2018.1497144, early view.

Smart, A. and Weiner, K. (2018) Racialised prescribing: Enacting race/ethnicity in clinical practice guidelines and in accounts of clinical practice. Sociology of Health & Illness, 40, 5, 843-858

Weiner, K. and Will, C. (2018) Thinking with care infrastructures: people, devices and the home in home blood pressure monitoring. Sociology of Health & Illness, 40, 2, 270-282

Weiner, K., Martin, P., Richards, M. & Tutton, R. (2017) Have we seen the geneticization of society? Expectations and evidence. Sociology of Health and Illness. 39, 7, 989-1004, doi: 10.1111/1467-9566.12551

Weiner, K. & Will, C. (2016). Users, non-users and "resistance" to pharmaceuticals. In S. Hyysalo, T. Elgaard Jensen, & N. Oudshoorn (Eds.), The New Production of Users Changing Innovation Collectives and Involvement Strategies (pp. 273-296). Routledge.

Dyer, S. & Weiner, K. (2015) Surviving and progressing as a research fellow, in Dingwall, R. and Byrne McDonnell, M. (eds) The Sage handbook of research management, pp 348-357, Sage, London.

Weiner, K. & Will, C. (2015), Materiality matters: blurred boundaries and the domestication of functional foods. BioSocieties 10, 194–212, doi: 10.1057/biosoc.2015.7

Will, C. & Weiner, K. (2015), The drugs don't sell: DIY heart health and the over-the-counter statin experience. Social Science and Medicine, 131, 280-288. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.04.033

Will, C. M., & Weiner, K. (2014). Sustained multiplicity in everyday cholesterol reduction: Repertoires and practices in talk about 'healthy living'. Sociology of Health and Illness, 36(2), 291-304. doi:10.1111/1467-9566.12070

Will, C., and Weiner, K. (2013) Do-it-yourself heart health? ‘Lay’ practices and products for disease prevention, Health Sociology Review, 22, 1, 8-18. doi:10.5172/hesr.2013.22.1.8

Prainsack, B. and Weiner, K. (2013) Genetic Indeterminism of Social Action in B. Kaldis (Ed) Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences, Sage, Thousands Oaks, California.

Weiner, K. (2011) The subject of functional foods: accounts of consuming foods containing phytosterols, Sociological Research Online, 16, 2, 7. http://www.socresonline.org.uk/16/2/7.html

Weiner, K. (2011) Exploring genetic responsibility for self, family and kin in the case of hereditary raised cholesterol, Social Science and Medicine, 72, 11, 1760-1767. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.03.053

Weiner, K. (2010) Configuring users of cholesterol lowering foods: a review of biomedical discourse, Social Science and Medicine, 71, 9, 1541-1547. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.06.048

Weiner, K. (2009) The tenacity of the coronary candidate: How people with familial hypercholesterolaemia construct raised cholesterol and coronary heart disease, Health,13, 4, 405-425. doi: 10.1177/1363459309103915

Weiner, K. (2009) Lay involvement and legitimacy: the construction of expertise and participation within H.E.A.R.T. UK, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 38, 2, 254-273. doi: 10.1177/0891241608316996

Weiner, K. and Durrington P. (2008) Patients’ Understandings and Experiences of Familial Hypercholesterolemia, Community Genetics, 11, 5, 273-282. doi: 10.1159/000121398

Weiner, K. and Martin, P. (2008) A genetic future for coronary heart disease? Sociology of Health and Illness, 30, 3, 380-395. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2007.01058.x

Levitt, L., Weiner, K. and Goodacre G. (2005) Gene Week: a novel way of consulting the public, Public Understanding of Science, 14, 1, 67-79. doi: 10.1177/0963662505047824