Â Aileen Ewen had the dubious pleasure of sharing a postgrad room with me back in the day. Then he was working in the Sociology of Mental Health and looking at users experiences of mental health systems from the perspective of user social movements. Now working in the University of Essex he has retained an interested in choice around health care and health bureaucracies (subjects of great importance in Ireland at the moment). He is starting work on a number of projects which look at the ways policy makers use soft bureaucracy and the 'rhetoric' of choice in health systems to hide the states role in managing (or failing to manage) the health service (though he is looking at the NHS, I think this work is of great relevance to Ireland). I think this is a very interesting and useful piece of work, so I've encouraged Ewen to join us, to tell us of what he has found as he begins his research journey. Welcome Ewen.