A Social Science Investigation of the role of Guts and Microbes in Health and Disease

Project Details


We propose to investigate two new aspects of gut-related research and practice. The first is a current awareness of the role played by microorganisms in a range of diseases and chronic conditions, e.g. motor neurone disease. The second is the recent popularity of health benefits of microbe-rich fermented foods, such as kimchi and kefir. These two ideas give us a new and more dynamic model of interactions between bodies and their environments, and of the role of food as medicine. Our combined research interests (in models of the body and of healthy eating) strongly suggest that digestion is a topic that remains relatively unexplored by social scientists. However, in order to develop a convincing application for funding, we need research assistance in order to undertake an initial scoping review.

Layman's description

In recent years, biomedical and popular and medical ideas about the role and importance of the human digestive system appear to be changing, e.g. the digestive system has been labelled a ‘second brain’ in conjunction with an increasing focus on diet- and gut-related diseases such as growing rates of Celiac and Crohn’s Disease or more general food intolerances in the UK. The body should in fact be described as an ecosystem that many species inhabit, with the human as the overlying authority in the relationship.
Short titleGuts
Effective start/end date1/06/2031/07/20


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