The prospect of an aging population and a reduced work force in health care professions induces shifts in expertise and rearticulation of values and responsibilities in new material settings.This panel invites STS contributions addressing these shifts towards a 'participatory society'.
The prospect of an aging population and a reduced work force in health care professions induces welfare reforms in many countries. Welfare technologies requiring new forms of expertise and the rearticulation of values and responsibilities are key to these ongoing reforms. STS researchers have studied telecare technologies and the promise these entail for people to live longer in their own homes. Today authorities expand their call on relatives and informal caregivers, requiring them to be active and participate in sharing the burden of labour, costs and responsibilities. Authorities adopt ambitious policies aiming to reduce global and national health and welfare burdens substantially. It falls upon the individual to actively manage and promote its own risk profile and health. The new field of longevity promotion, anti-aging and regenerative medicine thrives on these changes, together with an expanding health promotion industry. These reforms herald the end of the welfare state, and imply of a shift towards activation policies and a 'participatory society'. Being "active" and "participating" invokes a set of democratic as well as professional values: of empowerment, self-help/self-management, duties and individual responsibility. However, a number of debates indicate that there are some battles to fight. These are related to issues such as physicians' right to conscience, health professionals' expertise and competence, task shifting, control of access to care, advocacy and voice. This panel invites STS contributions addressing these shifts in the distribution of expertise, values and responsibilities in the field of health and care towards a participatory society. The papers will be presented in the order shown and grouped 5-4-4-4 between sessions