From an ecological perspective on action, the session addresses care in its close relationship with design practices.The contributions address issues regarding care, health and technologies and enlarge the cross-disciplinary dialogue between sociology, health studies and environmental studies.
Initially applied in the research fields of health and medicine, the concept of care raises central topics concerning multiple ontologies and normativities in situated practices across STS (Mol 2002; Mol, Moser and Pols 2010). In current science and technology studies, care addresses both a mode of "engaging" with materiality and environment as well as a way of "enacting" bodies and technical artifacts thus pointing at the "ontonorms" involved therein (Mol 2012). The session acknowledges and further develops the analytical potential of understanding care from the perspective of an ecological approach to action that especially underlines the evaluative dimension at work in human-environment interdependences.
Starting from this understanding of care, session contributors discuss, theoretically and empirically, issues regarding care and technologies and enlarge the cross-disciplinary dialogue between sociology and health studies, drawing on seminal insights from environmental studies. More specifically, the session addresses the concept of care in its close connection to design practices. This approach brings to attention the particular affordances on which care practice relies in order to shape forms of (beneficial) mutual adjustments between interdependent beings, objects and places.
A special accent is put on the distinctive temporality and inner fragility of these adjustments and their normative profile, as identified in multiple situations of questioning, criticizing, and re-arranging care. By pointing at the material embedment of care practices, it is then possible, following the conference's theme, to analyze how this perspective can explain the need to perform science and technology "by other means".