Accepted Paper:

(AUTO)ETHNOGRAPHIC ACCOUNTS OF MEDICAL IMAGING: CONSIDERING THE PERFORMATIVITY OF ETHNOGRAPHIC REPRESENTATION  

Author:

Lisa Wood (Lancaster University)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper I present both a traditional ethnographic and an autoethnographic case study relating to the expansion of medical visualisation. In juxtaposing the two, I explore questions relating to knowledge production and perception to uncover how subject and object are produced through method.

Paper long abstract:

It is widely accepted that reflection on researcher integration and interaction within ethnographic sites and encounters, enables recognition of partial and perspectival knowledge production. Accordingly, in all forms of ethnography, acknowledging the personal through reflexivity is vital and the embedded nature of the researcher is widely extolled (Hammersley and Atkinson, 2007, Clifford and Marcus, 1986). However, there appear to be limits to the acceptability of the personal in ethnographic accounts, with some autoethnographic accounts derided; considered to lack rigour or finesse, as self-indulgence unwelcome in academic writing or as 'sloppy sociology' (Delamont, 2009, Soyini Madison, 2006, Anderson, 2006, Buzzard, 2003, Letherby, 2002).

In this paper I present two case studies, both relating to the expansion of medical visualisation practices that could be considered 'unregulated gluttony' in a 'technological feast', as Haraway described visual expansion in culture more widely (Haraway, 1988: 581). The first account is a traditional ethnographic story generated from a project exploring the emplacement of imaging technologies into cancer treatment. It describes the decadent expansion of radiotherapy imaging, where techniques expanded beyond the capabilities of practices they aimed to progress. The second is an autoethnographic account detailing imaging practices during pregnancy. It describes visual gluttony in relation to myself and my then unborn daughter, and how these practices created a 'techno-monster' (Haraway, 1988).

In juxtaposing the two accounts, I explore questions relating to knowledge production and perception through ethnography and the potential impact of ethnographic representations to uncover how subjects and objects are produced through methods.

Panel T014
Considering the performativity of our own research practices