Dr Vanessa Bowden

Dr Vanessa Bowden

Post Doctorate Research Fellow

Newcastle Business School

Career Summary

Biography

Sociologist Dr Vanessa Bowden investigates the interface between our understandings of the environment with science, policy and social justice. While we might often think of environmental issues as directed by scientific understandings, issues such as climate change reveal the complexities around our trust in science, politics and concern for the economy. Understanding the ways in which these issues intersect is a key focus of Dr Bowden’s research.

“Many of the assumptions we’ve had about science and knowledge as continually improving and guiding our social practices are not borne out in reality” says Dr Bowden. “Climate change is one example of that, but so are some of the discussions we have around health, and immunisation, for instance. This is not necessarily a bad thing – in many cases it might be an indication of an increasingly engaged and critical public – however, there are always a range of interests involved in such debates. My work is about bringing an analysis of how power operates within these debates.”

Dr Bowden’s research has explored the ways in which business leaders in the Hunter region of NSW – home to the world’s largest coal port – have responded to climate change. The research shows that the debates over the science of climate change, especially confusion around the severity and timing of impacts, creates a space in which the prominent coal industry is able to mobilise significant power. In this context, the research gives some insight into barriers to climate mitigation policies, such as putting a price on carbon or implementing renewable energy targets.

Dr Bowden is currently undertaking a new research project on the impact of ‘post-truth’ politics on scientific practice, where she will further explore how these broader public debates impact on research and teaching within different scientific fields such as medicine and the environment.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), University of Newcastle

Keywords

  • Australian Politics
  • Beck
  • Climate Change
  • Environmental Sociology
  • Reflexive Modernisation
  • Risk Society
  • Social Theory
  • Sociology

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified 100

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Associate Lecturer University of Newcastle
Centre for English Language and Foundation Studies
Australia
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (8 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Bowden VM, ''Life. Brought to you by' ...coal? Business responses to climate change in the Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia', Environmental Sociology, 4 275-285 (2018) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/23251042.2017.1382032
2018 Broom A, Kenny K, Bowden V, Muppavaram N, Chittem M, 'Cultural ontologies of cancer in India', Critical Public Health, 28 48-58 (2018)

© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. India has undergone a considerable epidemiological transition in the past few decades. The rise of cancer and o... [more]

© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. India has undergone a considerable epidemiological transition in the past few decades. The rise of cancer and other chronic illnesses has, and will continue to have, a substantial impact on the overall burden of disease, as well as the lived experiences of illness in India. Little is known about the cultural inflection of cancer in the Indian medical, historical and religious/spiritual landscape, which is both highly varied and rapidly changing. Here, we explore some of the issues emergent from individuals¿ experiences of illness including their understandings of cancer, its ¿origins¿, its meanings and subsequent everyday experiences. Drawing on interviews with 40 people with cancer in Hyderabad, we focus on the cultural ontologies of cancer in India, the social moralities and evolving individual responsibilisation around cancer, and some of the affective dimensions of these interpretations of illness.

DOI 10.1080/09581596.2017.1288288
2017 Broom J, Broom A, Bowden V, 'Ebola outbreak preparedness planning: a qualitative study of clinicians' experiences', Public Health, 143 103-108 (2017)

© 2016 The Royal Society for Public Health Objectives The 2014¿15 Ebola outbreak in West Africa highlighted the challenges many hospitals face when preparing for the potential eme... [more]

© 2016 The Royal Society for Public Health Objectives The 2014¿15 Ebola outbreak in West Africa highlighted the challenges many hospitals face when preparing for the potential emergence of highly contagious diseases. This study examined the experiences of frontline health care professionals in an Australian hospital during the outbreak, with a focus on participant views on information, training and preparedness, to inform future outbreak preparedness planning. Study design Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 21 healthcare professionals involved in Ebola preparedness planning, at a hospital in Australia. Methods The data were systematically coded to discover key themes in participants' accounts of Ebola preparedness. Results Three key themes identified were: 1) the impact of high volumes of¿often inconsistent¿information, which shaped participants' trust in authority; 2) barriers to engagement in training, including the perceived relative risk Ebola presented; and finally, 3) practical and environmental impediments to preparedness. Conclusions These clinicians' accounts of Ebola preparedness reveal a range of important factors which may influence the relative success of outbreak preparedness and provide guidance for future responses. In particular, they illustrate the critical importance of clear communication and guidelines for staff engagement with, and implementation of training. An important outcome of this study was how individual assessments of risk and trust are produced via, and overlap with, the dynamics of communication, training and environmental logistics. Consideration of the dynamic ways in which these issues intersect is crucial for fostering an environment that is suitable for managing an infectious threat such as Ebola.

DOI 10.1016/j.puhe.2016.11.008
Citations Scopus - 2
2017 Broom A, Chittem M, Bowden V, Muppavaram N, Rajappa S, 'Illness experiences, collective decisions, and the therapeutic encounter in Indian oncology', Qualitative Health Research, 27 951-963 (2017)

© The Author(s) 2016. Social science scholarship on cancer has been almost exclusively focused on Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, despite a... [more]

© The Author(s) 2016. Social science scholarship on cancer has been almost exclusively focused on Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, despite a significant epidemiological transition taking place in many non OECD contexts, with cancer emerging as a prominent, and strongly feared, illness experience. With cancer gaining an increasingly high profile in India, there is an urgent need to explore how experiences of cancer may be socially and culturally embedded, and in turn, how localized practices may shape the therapeutic encounter. Here, drawing on interviews with 40 people living with cancer in Hyderabad, India, we focus on some specific components of their therapeutic journeys, including diagnostic and prognostic disclosure, collective versus individual decision making, the dynamics of medical authority, and the reception of cancer within their social milieu. These participants' accounts provide insight into a range of cultural sensibilities around illness and care, and reinforce the importance of understanding the cultural inflections of communication, decisions, and illness experiences.

DOI 10.1177/1049732316648125
Citations Scopus - 1
2017 Kirby E, Broom A, Good P, Bowden V, Lwin Z, 'Experiences of interpreters in supporting the transition from oncology to palliative care: A qualitative study', Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology, 13 e497-e505 (2017)

© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd Aim: Medical consultations focused on managing the transition to palliative care are interpersonally challenging and require high lev... [more]

© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd Aim: Medical consultations focused on managing the transition to palliative care are interpersonally challenging and require high levels of communicative competence. In the context of non-English speaking patients, communication challenges are further complicated due to the requirement of interpreting; a process with the potential to add intense layers of complexity in the clinical encounter, such as misunderstanding, misrepresentation and power imbalances. The aim of the study was to explore the experiences and perspectives of professional interpreters in supporting the transition of culturally and linguistically diverse patients to specialist palliative care. Methods: Qualitative, semistructured interviews with 20 professional interpreters working in oncology and palliative care settings in two metropolitan hospitals in Queensland, Australia. Results: Four key themes emerged from the thematic analysis: the challenges of translating the meaning of ¿palliative care¿; managing interpreting in the presence of family care-givers; communicating and expressing sensitivity while remaining professional and interpreters¿ own emotional burden of difficult clinic encounters between doctor and patient negotiations. Conclusion: The results suggest that interpreters face a range of often concealed interpersonal and interprofessional challenges and recognition of such dynamics will help provide necessary support for these key stakeholders in the transition to palliative care. Enriched understanding of interpreters¿ experiences has clinical implications on improving how health professionals interact and work with interpreters in this sensitive setting.

DOI 10.1111/ajco.12563
Citations Scopus - 2
2016 Leahy TS, Bowden V, 'Don't Shoot the Messenger: How Business Leaders Get Their Bearings on a Matter of Science', Journal of Sociology, 52 .219-234 (2016) [C1]
DOI 10.1177/1440783313518245
Citations Scopus - 1
Co-authors Terry Leahy
2016 Siegel P, Broom A, Bowden V, Adams J, de Barros NF, 'Attitudes toward complementary and alternative medicine amongst oncology professionals in Brazil', Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 27 30-34 (2016)

© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) are popular amongst cancer patients in the Brazilian context, however little is known about oncology health prof... [more]

© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) are popular amongst cancer patients in the Brazilian context, however little is known about oncology health professionals' attitudes toward the role of CAM and their perspectives on the potential for integration into oncological care. In this study, drawing on a series of interviews with oncology professionals (i.e. doctors, nurses, nutritionists, pharmacologists and psychologists), we provide insight into their views on the rise, validity, and role of CAM in cancer care. The results reveal two key dynamics in relation to CAM in cancer care in Brazil. First, that doctors, nurses and other allied professionals hold considerably different views on the value and place of CAM, and in turn ascribe it varying levels of legitimacy potentially limiting integration. Second, that while some health professionals may articulate a degree of support for CAM, this is limited by perceptions of CAM as lacking efficacy and intruding on their respective jurisdictional claims. Further research is needed in the Brazilian context to explore patient and professional perspectives on experiences on CAM in cancer care, including how oncology professionals' varying positions on CAM may influence what patients are prepared to use, or discuss, in the context of cancer care.

DOI 10.1016/j.ctim.2016.04.003
Citations Scopus - 2
2010 Leahy TS, Bowden VM, Threadgold SR, 'Stumbling towards collapse: Coming to terms with the climate crisis', Environmental Politics, 19 851-868 (2010) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/09644016.2010.518676
Citations Scopus - 26Web of Science - 19
Co-authors Steven Threadgold, Terry Leahy
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Conference (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2011 Bowden VM, 'Prospects for an ecological modernisation approach to climate change - Analysing the views of business leaders in the Hunter Region', Australian Sociological Association (TASA) Conference: Local Lives/Global Networks, Newcastle, NSW (2011) [E3]
2009 Bowden VM, 'Fractions in a coal dependent region: How business people in the Hunter are responding to climate change', The Future of Sociology, Canberra, ACT (2009) [E1]
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 1
Total funding $1,500

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20171 grants / $1,500

New Staff Early-Stage Researcher Scheme$1,500

Funding body: English Language and Foundation Studies Centre, University of Newcastle

Funding body English Language and Foundation Studies Centre, University of Newcastle
Scheme New Staff Early-Stage Researcher Scheme
Role Lead
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2018
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N
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Dr Vanessa Bowden

Position

Post Doctorate Research Fellow
Newcastle Business School
Faculty of Business and Law

Contact Details

Email vanessa.bowden@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4968 6726

Office

Room Level 8
Building NeW Space Building
Location NeW Space

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