Lifestyle interventions and health technologies: The role of ethnography in optimising health in everyday life
Aske Juul Lassen (University of Copenhagen)
Astrid Jespersen (University of Copenhagen)
Hanne Hellerup Eriksen (Copenhagen University)
Line Hillersdal (Copenhagen University)
Health, caring, technology
Economy 16
Start time:
18 September, 2014 at 15:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

ageing populations, health technologies, lifestyle interventions, ethnography in interdisciplinary collaborations

Long abstract:

While the global population is becoming older, new technologies are designed to cater for independence, activity level and health of this expanding population group, often through negotiation and collaboration with the prospective users (Joyce & Loe 2010, Lassen et al 2014). In the latter half of the 20th century epidemiology and medicine shifted focus from birth control and cure to lifestyle intervention and illness prevention (e.g. WHO 1999). This reconfigured the coordinates of health towards improvement, enhancement and optimisation of the individual throughout the life course (Weisz & Olszynko-Gryn 2010, Lupton 2013). The last 30 years has seen a rise in the amount and variety of technologies that aim to produce healthier and longer lives (Casper & Morrison 2010, Faulkner 2010, Timmermans & Berg 2003, Webster 2002, Mol & Berg 1998). Drawing on recent developments in STS we propose a broad definition of health technology that includes ICT, medicine, patient organisations, community-based health interventions, senior activity centres and care practices (Pols 2010, Danholt & Langstrup 2012, Mort et al 2009, Oudshoorn 2009, Oudshoorn 2008, Jespersen et al 2013). We wish to explore how health in everyday life calls for ethnographic descriptions of health practices and strategies, and how ethnography contributes to crafting of new technologies and interventions. We welcome papers that explore the role of ethnography in interdisciplinary collaborations and innovations, how (and if) welfare technology, gerontechnology and health technology are increasingly based on ethnographic insights, as well as how age, activity level and lifestyle are (re-)configured in new technologies and interventions. The papers will be presented in the order shown and grouped 2-3 between sessions