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DR Claire Tanner


  • sociology of health and illness; the body and biopolitics; health narratives; qualitative methods; health/medical decision-making (stem cells, gender, obesity, childhood, family)



  • Dr Claire Tanner is a health sociologist and post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on the sociology of science, the body and health. Before commencing work at The University of Melbourne Claire was a Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Social Sciences at Monash University, where she was awarded her Doctorate in 2011. Since the award of her Doctorate Claire has worked on a number of large-scale Australian Research Council-funded research projects including on stem cell tourism; childhood obesity; alcohol use and mental health. A central theme connecting these projects is a focus on how ‘healthy’ and ‘sick’ bodies are constituted (ie. through science, consumer culture, the media, biotechnologies, public health policies and medical treatments) in ways that define, imagine and produce individual and social selves, and mediate health experiences. Claire’s current work program involves qualitative research projects specifically around stem cell science that generate insights into the mechanisms that produce harm and increase inequities for subjects in different health contexts. A particular focus is on enhancing understanding of the experiences of people living or caring for people with serious health and medical conditions, and the people, interventions and/or technologies they turn to for help. This work aims to identify barriers to effective support in different healthcare populations and to enhance understanding of the interconnected ways relationships, expectations and understandings impact on health and medical decision-making. Claire’s work aims to contribute to the development of more effective and ethical policy and regulatory interventions and healthcare services to directly support people, families and carers managing critical and chronic health conditions. Claire has published widely in the areas of sociology of health, illness and technology, and gender, families   


Member of

  • The Australian Sociological Association (TASA). Member 2013 -
  • The Australian Women's and Gender Studies Association. Member 2013 -


Selected publications


Additional Grant Information

  • ARC Discovery Project 2016-2018 (DP160100257), Children as health advocates in families: assessing the consequences, with Associate Professor JaneMaree Maher, Professor Jan Wright, Associate Professor Jo Lindsay and Dr Deana Leahy.   


Education and training

  • PhD, Monash University 2011

Awards and honors

  • Monash University Dean's Commendation for Excellence in Teaching, 2009
  • Monash Graduate School Doctoral Scholarship, 2008
  • Doctoral Scholarship, Centre for Women's Studies and Gender Research, 2007


Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • I am available to supervise students who are undertaking research in the areas of sociology of health and illness, the sociology of science and technology, the sociology of the body, qualitative methods or gender studies.