Dr Peta Cook is a Senior Lecturer of Sociology at the School of Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania. She is a sociologist of knowledge, with a specific focus on ageing, medical science, health and illness, and identity and embodiment. Her research is primarily concerned with what forms of knowledge count and why; how this knowledge is produced; and personal mean-making and experiences of ageing, and health and illness. She has wide expertise in qualitative research methods, including interviews, focus groups, observation, discourse analysis, and photography. Experienced at sole and collaborative research, Peta frequently works in disciplinary and cross-disciplinary teams.
Peta joined the University of Tasmania in January 2009, prior to which she was a lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology (2007-2008). Her contributions to sociological scholarship have focused on addressing pressing social issues and problems raised by controversial medical sciences, widely experienced health conditions, and ageing. This includes examining how knowledge production affects medical practices and decision-making, and what makes people’s lives meaningful.
Peta’s contributions to understanding the social aspects of xenotransplantation (animal-to-human transplantation) have been acknowledged through an invited article for Sociology Compass and an invited presentation at the World Health Organization in 2012. She has also been a Visiting Researcher at the Brocher Foundation and the Princess Alexandra Hospital (Brisbane); the latter of which she applied sociology to the cancer treatment of older people in collaboration with cancer nurses and oncology teams. Peta has expertise in researching delicate and sensitive topics, which she manages with sensitivity, compassion and care. This has included working with people who have chronic and life-threatening illnesses, and people have donated organs of a deceased family member. She has extensive experience in semi-structured and unstructured in-depth interviewing, having conducted well over 200 interviews with a diversity of populations.