Benjamin DiCicco-Bloom

is a Sociologist of Health & Illness, Disability, and Aging.

He completed his PhD. in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014.

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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. He’s gotten to know and lived with many of his participants over the course of ten years. 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 primary, hospice, and palliative care settings. Ben’s newest area of interest is population aging. He’s working on a paper with a student to illustrate how individual and organizational responses to China’s universal retirement age policy point the way towards an institutional framework better able to represent the sources of social change.


Ben’s book manuscript (under contract with Princeton University Press) draws on an ethnographic study among families with an adult member with autism, many of whom he lived with, to show how grassroots understandings of autism are more complex than popular narratives about the condition suggest, and how everyday experiences and interactions harbor both popular understandings and alternate ones and thus the elements of cultural variation and the seeds of transformation.

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.

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