is a Sociologist of Health & Illness, Disability, and Aging.
He completed his PhD. in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014.
Benjamin DiCicco-Bloom is a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He’s writing a book about autistic adults and their families and communities (under contract with Princeton University Press). He’s followed many of his participants for ten years, and lived with most of them. Ben also investigates how interactions between different healthcare professionals shape medical organizations and patient care. With a colleague in nursing, he’s written papers on palliative, hospice, and primary care settings. Their work together explicates organizational processes that support things like information sharing and emotional labor, relevant to workers and leaders in a variety of sectors. Ben’s newest area of interest is aging. As one of the major trends shaping 21st century life, population aging has much to teach us about fundamental social processes. His first piece in this line of work is a paper he’s writing with one of his students that illustrates how individual and organizational responses to China’s universal retirement age policy point the way towards an institutional framework better able to represent the dynamism of social change.
Autism has been a national obsession ever since the diagnosis rose to prominence in the late 1990s. While the reigning perspectives on autism—the language of disease and the language of difference—continue to do battle in the public sphere, both elide central elements of the lived experience of autistic adults and their relationships with family, care workers, and friends. The book explores what popular discourse about autism misses. Even if they are useful for motivating fundraising, research, or activism, disease and difference obscure an imagery of autism that features three-dimensional people and everyday lives.
In collaboration with a colleague in nursing, Ben also uses ethnographic data to explore how interactions between different occupational groups shape the delivery of patient care and the operation of healthcare organizations. Their first article, published in the journal Sociology of Health & Illness, finds that the degree to which interactions between doctors and nurses are respectful shapes their ability to share information with coworkers. Their second piece, published in the journal Work & Occupations, finds that interactions between hospice nurses and their supervisors affect whether the emotional labor nurses engage with dying patients and their families is draining or a source of pride and fulfillment. Currently, they are writing a piece that examines how people working in a palliative care department protect their ethical goal to care for sick and dying patients in the context of an institution that is overwhelmingly focused on providing treatments and avoiding death.
Ben’s past research also includes work on game metaphors in theory, published in Sociological Theory, adolescent gambling, published in Youth & Society, and a piece on the complexities of care coordination for adults with autism, published in the edited volume Autism Spectrum Disorder in Mid and Later Life (Scott Wright, Ed.).
For more on his scholarship, click here.