Renata Kokanović’s research focuses on the intersection of health, society and medicine. She has extensive expertise in empirical research and specialises in narrative research focused on experiences diagnosed as psychiatric illnesses, disability, chronic illness, as well as examining ageing and dementia, and informal support and care. She is also interested in diagnostic technologies, health decision-making, experience based co-production and digital media in health communication.
Renata leads the Health, Society and Medicine Research Lab which generates critical sociological understandings of lived experience of health and illness in social context. She combines empirical research with interdisciplinary theoretical scholarship that has real-world relevance. Renata collaborates with a broad range of industry partners and contributes research on health service users’ experiences in the co-design of healthcare and policy improvements. Her most recent work has involved industry collaborations with Healthdirect Australia, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, Monash Health, Mind Australia Limited, Wellways, National Breast Cancer Foundation, Women’s Health Victoria, Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC) and Tandem Carers.
Renata is Director of Healthtalk Australia, a research consortium which conducts narrative health research on lived experiences of health and illness and uses these to produce publicly available online resources. These resources are tailored to support people experiencing a variety of health conditions as well as their families and friends. They can also be used as educational tools for health professionals and to inform policy development.
Renata has authored more than 40 peer reviewed articles, including in Social Science and Medicine, Sociology of Health and Illness, and Social Theory and Health, and six book chapters, many of which can be found in RMIT's Research Repository.
Renata’s research is funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and industry partners.
Research interests include:
- Narrative approaches to lived experiences of:
- mental illness
- suffering and healing
- chronic illness
- ageing and dementia
- neurodiversity and disability
- Therapeutic cultures and encounters
- Digital ethnography
- Digital media in health communication
- Patients centered care
- Experience based Co-design
- Health, Society and Medicine Research Lab
- Mental Health and Supported Decision Making
- Mental Health: Carers’ Experiences
- Lives of Substance
- Emotional Experiences of Early Parenthood
- Healthtalk Australia
Postdoctoral Researchers/ Researchers:
- Dr Kate Johnston-Ataata
- Dr Jacinthe Flore
- Mr Nicholas Hill
- Dr Meredith Stone
- PhD, Department of Sociology, Murdoch University, 2002
- BA (Hons), Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Sociology, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Since 2004 Renata has held several research focused fellowships, including two internationally competitive fellowships. She has been involved with and led national and international cross-disciplinary collaborative research, with colleagues from humanities and health humanities, psychiatry/cultural psychiatry, critical psychology, medicine, cultural studies, health anthropology, narrative health research, health sociology and neuroscience. Renata is Director of Healthtalk Australia, a research collaboration which conducts narrative research into health and illness experiences, and a Board member of DIPEx International (DI), a collaboration of universities and health research organizations across 12 countries. DI aims to conduct rigorous and systematic, qualitative research into people’s experiences of health and illness and to make this publicly available via online resources.
Renata’s previous positions include:
- Sir John Monash Research Fellow, School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Monash University
- Senior Research Fellow, Mental Health Research Group, Primary Health Care Academic Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne
- Research Fellow, Centre for International Mental Health (CIMH), School of Population Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne
Editorial and Advisory Boards
- Director, Healthtalk Australia
- Board Member, DIPEx International
- Associate Editor of Journal of Mental Health.
- Member – Research Translation Faculty, NHMRC
- Member – The enabling supported decision making committee, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
- Pienaar, K.,Moore, D.,Fraser, S.,Kokanovic, R.,Treloar, C.,Dilkes-Frayne, . (2017). (In Press) Diffracting addicting binaries: An analysis of personal accounts of alcohol and other drug 'addiction In: Health, , 1 - 19
- Fraser, S.,Pienaar, K.,Dilkes-Frayne, .,Moore, D.,Kokanovic, R.,Treloar, C.,Dunlop, A. (2017). Addiction stigma and the biopolitics of liberal modernity: A qualitative analysis In: International Journal of Drug Policy, 44, 192 - 201
- Dilkes-Frayne, ..,Fraser, S.,Pienaar, K.,Kokanovic, R. (2017). Iterating 'addiction': Residential relocation and the spatio-temporal production of alcohol and other drug consumption patterns In: International Journal of Drug Policy, 44, 164 - 173
- Stone, M.,Kokanovic, R. (2016). "Halfway towards recovery": Rehabilitating the relational self in narratives of postnatal depression In: Social Science and Medicine, 163, 98 - 106
- Kokanovic, R.,Bozic-Vrbancic, S. (2015). Being marked as different: The emotional politics of experiences of depression and migrant belongings In: Emotion, Space and Society, 16, 130 - 137
- Pienaar, K.,Fraser, S.,Kokanovic, R.,Moore, D.,Treloar, C.,Dunlop, A. (2015). New narratives, new selves: Complicating addiction in online alcohol and other drug resources In: Addiction Research and Theory, 23, 499 - 509
- Anderson, C.,Kirkpatrick, S.,Ridge, D.,Kokanovic, R.,Tanner, C. (2015). Starting antidepressant use: A qualitative synthesis of UK and Australian data In: BMJ Open, 5, 1 - 9
- Lewis, S.,Willis, K.,Kokanovic, R.,Pirotta, M. (2015). 'I'm managing myself': how and why people use St John's wort as a strategy to manage their mental health risk In: Health, Risk and Society, 17, 439 - 457
- Ridge, D.,Kokanovic, R.,Broom, A.,Kirkpatrick, S.,Anderson, C.,Tanner, C. (2015). "My dirty little habit": Patient constructions of antidepressant use and the 'crisis' of legitimacy In: Social Science and Medicine, 146, 53 - 61
- Kokanovic, R.,Philip, B. (2014). Emotional talk: depression, diagnosis and disclosure In: Disclosure in Health and Illness, Routledge, London, United Kingdom
- Early Menopause: Implementation Research using the Experiences and Perspectives of Women and Health Professionals to Translate Evidence into Practice (Administered by Monash University). Funded by: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project Grants 2016 from (2017 to 2019)
- Options for Supported Decision-Making to Enhance the Recovery of People with Severe Mental Health Problems. Funded by: ARC Linkage Grant 2013 from (2017 to 2018)