Kellie Owens

Area(s) of Interest:  Sociology of biomedicine, health, and illness; Sociology of science and scientific knowledge; Sociology of gender and reproduction

Current Research

Kellie Owens’ research examines changing risk management philosophies and practices in medicine, centered around American obstetrics. She is currently working on a project focused on the boundaries of responsible knowledge in medicine. The project uses the case of electronic fetal heart rate monitoring during labor and delivery to explore how medical providers are reacting to data suggesting that monitoring technology is not improving health outcomes and may be leading to unnecessary interventions.

Kellie’s larger dissertation project includes a comparative analysis of how the risk perceptions and management styles of American birth providers are influenced by their institutional, legal, and professional contexts. Through this research, she shows how risk countercultures in medicine complicate the common biomedical narrative suggesting that health risks are best managed through increasing surveillance and technological intervention.

Kellie’s master’s research focused on the way complementary and alternative medical providers present evidence to garner institutional support for their practices. A related article was recently published in Social Science and Medicine. Kellie received her B.A. in Social Relations and Policy from Michigan State University in 2010. While at Michigan State, her research focused on historical debates about the ethics of reproductive technologies in the United States.


Owens, Kellie. 2015. “Boundary Objects in Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Christian Science vs. Acupuncture.” Social Science and Medicine 128: 18-24.

[Accepted, In Production] Owens, Kellie. 2015. “’Colorblind Science?’ The perceived importance of racial diversity in science research.” Spontaneous Generations.