School of Social and Political Science

Dr Gill Haddow

Job Title

Senior Lecturer

Photo of white female with blond hair and wearing striped top

Room number


Building (Address)

Old Surgeons' Hall

Street (Address)

High School Yards

City (Address)


Country (Address)


Post code (Address)


Research interests

Research interests

I have become interested in how subjectivity alterations will partly be determined by the type and kind of material that is used to repair, replace or regenerate the body. For example, despite heavy reliance by health care professionals and widespread public acceptance of mundane and ‘ordinary’ medical interventions such as implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICD) life-adjustments are necessary to acclimatise to a vulnerability caused through device implantation and activation. Because ICD’s functioning depends on a homeostatic feedback loop system that does not require human intervention they can be termed ‘cybernetic.’  Putting cybernetic technologies (‘cyb’) into human organisms (‘org’) creates the cyborg. I created the term ‘everyday cyborgs’ to challenge public stereotypes of monsters and academic understandings of what ‘cyborgs’ are.

I suggest further, that the reliance on a technological ‘fix’ (in terms of addiction and solution) to solve health problems is creating new vulnerabilities, in terms of adjusting to a new organic-technological hybridity as well as allowing cybernetics to control body functions. I explore this in the book 'Embodiment and Everyday Cyborgs: Technologies that Alter Subjectivity' (Manchester University Press, 2021) made available open access by the Wellcome.

I also demonstrate the previously unrecognised gender and racial bias in processes of medical cyborgisation.

I enjoy working in and on the interface between ethics, medicine and society studying the processes and outcomes that new and emerging technologies produce for individuals, groups and society (and vice versa). My research brings the ethics of new medical technologies to the public landscape through the medium of art via collaborating with creative professionals.  With a significant Wellcome Public Engagement Award for 'Everyday Cyborgs: Stories from the Inside/Out', I co-produced four films: (i) a gothic film about non-human animal hybridity 'Broken Wings' over an 18-month period with marginalised young adults supported by creative professionals, film-makers, sound producers and animators; (ii) an emotional short film co-produced with a research participant and filmmaker, ‘Maggie’s ICD story’; (iii) 'Electrifying Cyborg Heart' which was an animation reflecting on the nature of the relationship between human bodies, identity and technology; and (iv) 'Everyday Cyborgs' - an animation depicting the findings of qualitative research with ICD patients all joined with ‘talking head’ sections for a 45-minute documentary, available here: Everyday Cyborgs and Humanimals and here is Maggie's ICD Story:

Other Research Activities

  • BrainWaves, Series 6, Radio Scotland
  • Cyborgs and Humanimals: Filmhouse, Edinburgh in May 2018.
  • Herald Newspaper: The Rise of Homo Technicans…half human and half machine 22nd January 2017.
  • The Big Idea for Schools, (September 2016) ‘Social and Ethical Consequences of Whole Genome Sequencing’, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
  • Festival of Politics, August 2016. ‘Ex-Machina; Just another FemBot’? Discussion Panel, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh.
  • Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, Edinburgh Fringe, (August 2016) ‘One-Stop-Human-Body Shop’.
  • Festival of Politics, August 2016. ‘Ex-Machina; Just another FemBot’? Discussion Panel, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh.
  • Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, Edinburgh Fringe, (August 2016) ‘One-Stop-Human-Body Shop’.
  • Chair and Organiser (December 2016) Biomedical Research Ethics, Biomedical Ethics Film Festival, The University of Edinburgh.
  • Chair and co-organiser (May 2015 – onwards) Mason Institute Film Night; Ethics and Law at the Movies.
  • Co-organiser (September 2015) Symposium of Costumed Visons of Enhanced Bodies,The University of Manchester.
  • Chair and co-organiser: (May 2014) Mind the Gap: From Cell Discoveries to Therapies, Horizons in Human Cells, Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh.
  • Chair and co-organiser: (28th April 2014) Healing Hands: From Vitruvian to Mechanical Man, The Tent Gallery, Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh.
  • Chair and organiser: (November 2013) Cyborg-ethics, Biomedical Ethics Film Festival,The University of Edinburgh.

PhD Topics

I am interested in identity, embodiment, organ transplantation, genetics, ARTs, public engagement, patient participation, as well as the impact that new and emerging biomedical technologies have more generally. Mostly using approaches from sociology of health, medicine and illness, and/science and technology studies and qualitative and creative methods but really pretty open. Find out more about the programmes that I am involved with (opening in new windows):

    Current PhD students:

    1. Janet Philp (2020): The Social Construction of Fascia (with colleagues in the Anatomy School, The University of Edinburgh). 
    2. Nathalie Dupin (2019): Interdisciplinary doctoral training: becoming a researcher across the disciplines. 
    3. Laura Donald (2019): Narrating chronic heart disease in contemporary British and American writing, 1980-present (Wellcome Trust Scholarship with colleagues in Literature and the Medical Humanities. The University of Glasgow). 
    4. Laura/Michael-Anne Wigley (2019) A qualitative exploration of the experiences of adolescents who use insulin pumps to manage Type 1 Diabetes. (With colleagues in the Usher Institute, CMVM). 
    5. Rachel Simpson (2018): Regulating Robotic Surgery: New Sociological Explorations in Ethics and Embodiment
    6. Anna Kuslits (2017): Representations of 18th Anatomical Artefacts
    7. Vassilis Galanos (2017): Mapping Human-Machine Symbiosis: STS Investigations of Artificial Intelligence and Cyborg Technologies.
    8. Fiona Coyle (2016): CRISPR and the consequences of germline modifications
    9. Annie Sorbie (2016): What do appeals to the Public Interest do? 

    Completed PhD Students:

    1. Aoife McKenna (2019) Women’s Experiences of Sterilisation in Brazil: Negotiating Reproductive Discourse, Institutional and Intimate Relationships, and Contraceptive Practices. 
    2. Natalia Niño Machado (2018) Growing right: unpacking the WHO Child Growth Standards Development and their implementation in Colombia.
    3. Leah Gilman (2017) Qualifying Kinship: How do UK Gamete Donors Negotiate Identity-Release Donation? 
    4. Sara Bea (2017): No Heroics, please: Mapping Deceased Donation Practices in a Catalan Hospital. 
    5. Tarmphong Chobisara (2017): The Authentic Research Relationship in Biobanks. 
    6. Malissa Shaw (2016): Embodied Agency and Agentic Bodies: Negotiating Medicalisation in Colombian Assisted Reproduction. 
    7. Alison Wheatley (2016): Good Soldiers, Good Guys, and Good Parents: The Meanings of Donation and Donated Tissue in the Context of the Danish Donor Sperm Industry.
    8. Tirion Seymour (2016): The Third Sector and the Shaping of Scottish Huntingdon’s disease services: organisations, identity, and boundary work.


    I have a background in the sociology of health and medicine and have developed a special interest in emerging scientific and medical biotechnologies. Conceptually I have brought these areas together through a focus on embodiment, identity and relationships. Areas of research in the last ten years have included non-human animal-human transplantation; genetic databases; cybernetic medical and implantable smart technologies; and 3D bioprinting.

    Edinburgh Research Explorer profile

    Undergraduate Teaching

    Sociology of Medicine:

    In 2017 with STIS colleague Fadhila Mazanderani, we developed and designed the EUSA nominated UG course Sociology of Medicine (STIS10013) for intercalated medical and SPS students. It introduces students to sociological thinking about medicine’s shifting position in contemporary Western society in clear and accessible terms.  As one SoM student communicated ‘…the ideas I have come to terms with from this course have genuinely shifted my understanding of Sociology, and larger, how I understand the world around me. This is what I came to university for'.



    1. Haddow, G. (2021), Embodiment and Everyday Cyborgs: Technologies that alter Subjectivity, Manchester University Press, Manchester.
    2. Goldschmidt, P, Haddow, G., and Mazanderani, F., (eds) (2020) Uncanny Bodies, Luna Press, Edinburgh. 
      2019 marked the centenary of Freud’s essay ‘The Uncanny’ (Freud 2003 [1919]). According to Freud, the uncanny is not simply that which makes us afraid, the macabre or the gruesome, but the unease that emerges when that which is most familiar turns strange or hostile. To articulate this sense of the familiar estranged, Freud draws heavily on stories about bodies and bodily metaphors: automatons, doubles and doppelgängers, dismembered limbs coming to life, foreign bodies within one’s own (Freud 2003, p.1). With social science colleagues and creative professionals, we organised a workshop, in Edinburgh (July 2019) with 20 academics and creative writers invited to consider the relevance of Freud’s uncanny for the body and biomedicine today.  During the workshop we experimented with novel forms of writing across the social sciences, literature and medicine producing a pamphlet of ‘The New Freud Uncan is a Book of Nonsense Poetry’ and a published this edited collection called ‘Uncanny Bodies’ (Luna Press, 2020) with contributions from fiction writers and poets, social scientists and early career academics. 

    Articles and Book Chapters:

    1. Haddow, G., (2021) Dirty pigs’ and the xenotransplantation paradox Medical Humanities Published Online First: 25 October 2021. doi: 10.1136/medhum-2021-012187.
    2. Haddow, G, (2020) ‘When I first saw Jesus, he was cyborg’ in Gray, C., et al Modified: Living as a Cyborg, Routledge, New York and London, 68-74. In this chapter I use the experiences that were related to me, by the everyday cyborgs I had interviewed to present a fact-ionalised account of ICD implantation – ‘When I first saw Jesus, he was Cyborg’ introduces the main protagonists Jesus, Shelley and Johnny in an undetermined time and place, relating their experiences of undergoing cyborgisation.’  
    3. Haddow, G., (2020) ‘Animal, Mechanical and Me: Organ Transplantation and the Ambiguity of Embodiment’ in Mason, K., and Boero, N. (eds.,) The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of the Body and Embodiment, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 165-171.
    4. Mittra, J., Mastroeni, M., Haddow, G., Wield, D., Barlow, E., (2019) ‘Rethinking Innovative Health and Medical Research Systems Post Devolution: Scotland within the UK, Together or Apart?’ Sociological Research On-line, 55-72.
    5. Haddow G., and Barnes, B., (2018) 'STIS and the Importance of Being a Collective,' Engaging Science, Technology and Society,  4, 267-283.
    6. Ikegwuonu, T., Haddow, G., Tait, J., Murray, A., and Kunkler I., (2018) 'Horizon scanning implanted biosensors in personalising breast cancer management: first pilot study of breast cancer patients’ views, Health Sciences Report, 1-9.
    7. Vermeleun, N., Haddow, G., Seymour, T., Faulkner-Jones, A., Shu, W., (2017) '3-D Bioprint Me: A Socio-ethical Analysis of 3-D bioprinting,' Journal of Medical Ethics, 43, 618-624.
    8. Haddow G., Harmon, S., and Gilman L, (2015) ‘Implantable Smart Technologies (IST): Defining the ‘Sting’ in Data and Device’, Health Care Analysis, 1-18.
    9. Harmon, S., Haddow, G., and Gilman L. (2016) 'New risks inadequately managed: the case of smart implants and medical device regulation.' Law, Innovation and Technology, 7, 231-252. DOI: 10.1080/17579961.2015.1106107
    10. Haddow, G., King, E, Kunkler, I, and McLaren D. (2015) ‘Cyborgs in the Everyday: Masculinity and Biosensing Cancer’, Science and Culture, 24, 4: 484-506.
    11. Mikami, K., Alastair, K., and Haddow G., (2015) ‘The Life Costs of living with Rare Diseases: Cases of Huntingdon’s Disease and PKU’ in Kumar, D., and Chadwick, R., (eds) Genomics and Society, Elsevier Press, London.
    12. Harmon, S., Laurie, G., and Haddow, G., (2013) ‘Governing Risk, Engaging Publics and Engendering Trust: New Horizons for Law and Social Science’, Science and Public Policy, 40, 1, 25-33.
    13. Harmon, S., Haddow, G., (2012) ‘Banking (on) the Brain: The Neurological in Culture, Law and Science’ Medical Law International, 12, 2, 79-91.
    14. Haddow G., Murray, L. & Cunningham-Burley, S., (2011). ‘Can the governance of a population genetic data bank effect recruitment? Evidence from the public consultation of Generation Scotland’. Public Understanding of Science, 1 (January) 117-129.
    15. Haddow, G., Bruce, A., Sathandam, S., and Wyatt, J., (2010) ‘Nothing is really safe’: a focus group study on the processes of anonymising and sharing of health data for research purposes.’ Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 17, 6, 1140-1146.
    16. Haddow, G., Bruce, A., Calvert, J., Harmon, S., & Marsden, W., (2010). ‘Not ‘human’ enough to be human but not ‘animal’ enough to be animal – the case of the HFEA, cybrids and xenotransplantation’ New Genetics and Society, March 29, 1, 3 – 9.
    17. Haddow, G. (2010) ‘The Phenomenology of Death, Embodiment and Organ Transplantation’, Sociology of Health and Illness, 24, 6: 92 – 113.  Reproduced with permission in Moore, L. J., and Kosut, M., The Body Reader: Essential Social and Cultural Readings, New York University Press, New York, 108-123.
    18. Haddow G. (2009). ‘We only did it because he asked us’: Family accounts of recruitment to a large-scale population genetic database Social Science & Medicine. 69, 7, 1010-1017.
    19. Haddow, G. (2003) ‘Donor and non-donor families’ accounts of communication and relations with healthcare professionals,’ Progress in Transplantation, 13, 2, 1 – 7.
    20. Roberts, A., Heaney, D., Haddow, G., & O'Donnell, C.A., (2009). ‘Implementation of a national nurse-led telephone health service in Scotland: assessing the consequences for remote and rural localities.Rural and Remote Health, 1079.
    21. Haddow, G., Cunningham-Burley, S., Bruce, A., & Parry, S., (2008). ‘Generation Scotland: consulting publics and specialists at an early stage in a genetic database's development’. Critical Public Health, 18, 2, 139 - 149.
    22. Williams, B., Entwistle, V., Haddow G., and Wells, M., (2008) ‘Promoting research participation: Why not advertise altruism?’ Social Science and Medicine, 66, 7, 1451-1456.
    23. Williams, B., Entwistle, V., Haddow G., and Wells M., (2008) ‘Placing evidence in context: A response to Fry’s commentary’, Social Science and Medicine, 66, 7, 1461-1462.
    24. Haddow, G., and Cunningham-Burley, S., (2008) ‘Tokens of Trust or Token Trust? The case of Population Genetic Data Collections’ in Trust, Health and Illness (eds) Alexandra Greene, Julie Brownlie and Alexandra Howson, Routledge, London.
    25. Haddow, G, O’Donnell, K and Heaney, D., (2007) ‘Organisational identity and its role in the provision of unscheduled immediate health care,’ Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 13, 2, 179-185.
    26. Haddow, G., Laurie, G., Cunningham-Burley, S., & Hunter, K., (2007). ‘Tackling Community Concerns about Commercialisation and Genetic Research: A Modest Interdisciplinary Proposal’. Social Science and Medicine, 64, 272-282.
    27. Smith, B., Campbell, H., Blackwood, D., Connell, J., Connor, M., Deary, I., Dominiczak, A.F., Fitzpatrick, B., Ford, I., Jackson, C., Haddow, G., Kerr, S., Lindsay, R., McGilchrist, M., Morton, R., Murray, G., Palmer, C., Pell, J., Ralston, S., St Clair, D., Sullivan, F., Watt, G., Wolf, R., Wright, A., Porteous, D., & Morris, A., (2006). ‘Generation Scotland: the Scottish Family Health Study: A new resource for researching genes and heritability.BMC Medical Genetics, 7, 74, 689-700.
    28. Haddow, G. (2006). Because you’re worth it? The Taking and Selling of Transplantable Organs. Journal of Medical Ethics, 32, 324-328.
    29. Haddow, G. (2005) ‘The Phenomenology of Death, Embodiment and Organ Transplantation’, Sociology of Health and Illness, 24, 6, 92 – 113.

    Staff Hours and Guidance

    My feedback hours are Thursdays from 2 - 4pm and I prefer to organise a virtual appointment on MS Teams and Zoom. Happy to meet other times by appointment.

    Publications by user content

    Publication Research Explorer link
    Haddow G. Embodiment and everyday cyborgs: Technologies that alter subjectivity. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2021. 216 p. (Inscriptions).
    Haddow G. Animal, mechanical, and me: Organ transplantation and the ambiguity of embodiment. In Boero N, Mason K, editors, The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Body and Embodiment. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2020. p. 165-181
    Mittra J, Mastroeni M, Haddow G, Wield D, Barlow E. Re-imagining healthcare and medical research systems in post-devolution Scotland. Sociological Research Online. 2019 Mar 11;24(1):55-72.
    Pickersgill M, Chan S, Haddow G, Laurie G, Sridhar D, Sturdy S et al. Biomedicine, self and society: An agenda for collaboration and engagement. Wellcome Open Research . 2019 Jan 23;4:9.
    Pickersgill M, Chan S, Haddow G, Laurie G, Sridhar D, Sturdy S et al. The social sciences, humanities, and health. The Lancet. 2018 Apr 14;391(10129):1462–1463.
    Ikegwuonu T, Haddow G, Tait J, Murray AF, Kunkler IH. Horizon scanning implanted biosensors in personalising breast cancer management: First pilot study of breast cancer patients views. Health Science Reports. 2018 Apr;1(4):1-9. e30.
    Vermeulen N, Haddow G, Seymour T, Faulkner-Jones A, Shu W. 3D bioprint me: A socioethical view of bioprinting human organs and tissues. Journal of Medical Ethics. 2017;43:618-624.
    Haddow G, Harmon SHE, Gilman L. Implantable Smart Technologies (IST): Defining the ‘sting’ in data and device. Health Care Analysis. 2016 Sep 30;24(3):210-227.
    Harmon SHE, Haddow G, Gilman L. New risks inadequately managed: The case of smart implants and medical device regulation. Law, Innovation and Technology. 2016 Feb 2;7(2):231-252.
    Haddow G, King E, Kunkler I, McLaren D. Cyborgs in the everyday: Masculinity and biosensing prostate cancer. Science as Culture. 2015 Dec;24(4):484-506.
    Mikami K, Kent A, Haddow G. The “life costs” of living with rare genetic diseases. In Kumar D, Chadwick R, editors, Genomics and Society: Ethical, Legal, Cultural and Socioeconomic Implications. 1st ed. London: Academic Press. 2015. 10
    Haddow G, King E, Kunkler I, McLaren D. Cyborgs in the everyday: Masculinity and bio sensing prostate cancer. Science as Culture. 2015 Oct 2;24(4):484-506.
    Ikegwuonu T, Haddow G, Tait J, Kunkler IH. Recovering breast cancer patients’ views about the use of in-vivo biosensors to personalise radiotherapy treatment. Edinburgh: IMPACT Project, 2015. 35 p.
    Harmon S (Author), Lawrence D (Author), Haddow G (Photographer). Costumed Visions Network Launch Motley Coat: A Blog of the Mason Institute. 2015.
    Kennedy M-R (Performer), Haddow G (Performer), Heeney C (Performer). Data Linkage in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents And Children (ALSPAC) MI YouTube Channel. 2015.
    Mittra J (Author), Mastroeni M (Author), Haddow G (Author). Is Scottish Independence Bad for your Health? The Conversation. 2014.
    Haddow G, Mittra J, Snowden K, Barlow E, Wield D. From 'Sick Man' to 'Living Lab': The Narrative of Scottish Health Since Devolution. 2014. (Innogen Working Paper Series; 108).
    Harmon S, Laurie G, Haddow G. Governing Risk, Engaging Publics, and Engendering Trust: New Horizons for Law and Social Science? Science and Public Policy. 2013 Jan 15;40(1):25-33.
    Harmon S, Haddow G. Banking (on) the Brain: The Neurological in Culture, Law and Science. Medical Law International. 2012 Jun;12(2):79-91.
    Haddow G, Cunningham-Burley S, Murray L. Can the Governance of a Population Genetic Data Bank Effect Recruitment? Evidence from the Public Consultation of Generation Scotland. Public Understanding of Science. 2011 Jan;20(1):117-129.
    Haddow G, Bruce A, Sathanandam S, Wyatt J. Nothing is Really Safe: A Focus Group Study on the Processes of Anonymising and Sharing of Health Data for Research Purposes. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. 2011;17(6):1140-1146.
    Haddow G. Heredity and Hope: The Case for Genetic Screening. Technology and culture. 2010 Apr;51(2):532-533.
    Haddow G, Bruce A, Calvert J, Harmon S, Marsden W. Not "Human" Enough to be Human but not "Animal" Enough to be Animal - the Case of the HFEA, Cybrids and Xenotransplantation in the UK. New Genetics and Society. 2010;29(1):3-17.
    Haddow G. "We Only Did it Because He Asked Us": Gendered Accounts of Participation in a Population Genetic Data Collection. Social Science & Medicine. 2009 Oct;69(7):1010-1017.
    Roberts A, Heaney D, Haddow G, O'Donnell CA. Implementation of a national, nurse-led telephone health service in Scotland: assessing the consequences for remote and rural localities. Rural and remote health. 2009;9(2):-. 1079.
    Haddow G, Cunningham-Burley S, Bruce A, Parry S. Generation Scotland: Consulting Publics and Specialists at an Early Stage in a Genetic Database's Development. Critical Public Health. 2008;18(2):139-149.
    Laurie G, Haddow G, Cunningham-Burley S, Hunter K. Tackling Community Concerns about Commercialisation and Genetic Research: A Modest Interdisciplinary Proposal. Social Science and Medicine. 2007;64(2):272-282. PMID: 17050056.
    Smith BH, Campbell H, Blackwood D, Connell J, Connor M, Deary IJ et al. Generation Scotland: the Scottish Family Health Study; a new resource for researching genes and heritability. BMC Medical Genetics. 2006 Oct 2;7:-. 74.
    Haddow G. The phenomenology of death, embodiment and organ transplantation. Sociology of Health & Illness. 2005 Mar 10;27(1):92-113.