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Accepted Paper:

Transforming vulnerabilities. Imaginaries and epistemologies of emerging assemblages of care  
Sophie Wagner (University of Bern)

Paper short abstract:

Semi-automated therapies for type 1 diabetes patients challenge conceptions of the body, experiences of illness and the relationship between patient and health care professionals. How can present day concepts of care cater for emerging vulnerabilities of physical as well as digital bodies?

Paper long abstract:

Digital technologies, robotics, Big Data based systems and artificial intelligence (AI) radically alter understandings of current and future health care systems. Central to these developments is the imagery of the technology-empowered patient, who not only actively contributes to data gathering and sharing (Prainsack 2017), but generally becomes an active member in processes of shared decision making (Erikainen et al. 2019). While it’s necessary to acknowledge the importance of the patient’s active involvement as a contribution to successful therapies, the dynamic also poses challenges: not only is the logic of patient choice somewhat at odds with the logic of care, as Mol (2008) has conclusively shown, but also do recent developments not regard the complex consequences, posed by the co-construction of knowledge and experience between technology and humans. As research with type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients – who use (hybrid) closed loop systems (connected sensors and pumps worn on the body) – shows, it is much more difficult to locate agency and responsibility, than certain narratives make believe. Human and non-human actors, bodily and un-bodied data are the intra-acting components which render the chronic disease complex in its socio-material form. Drawing on Barad (2007), Schwennesen (2019) and Lupton’s (2019) notion of “more-than-human-assemblages” I aim to investigate the precise ways in which the patient’s vulnerability (Coeckelbergh 2013) is transformed, and how the fragility and fluidity of digital and physical bodies, whose boundaries are constantly permeated and expanded, is catered for in present day understandings of care.

Panel P027
Imagining alternative data futures
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -