UCL Anthropology


Risk, Embodiment and Health Technologies

27 June 2014, 9:30 am

Risk, Embodiment and Health Technologies

Event Information

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Daryll Forde Seminar Room, UCL Anthropology, 14 Taviton Street, London, WC1H 0BW

A One day workshop hosted by Biosocialities, Health and Citizenship RRG and the SMS network

The Biosocialities, Health and Citizenship reading and research group utilizes theoretical and empirically informed discussions of 'biosociality' (Rabinow 1996, Rose and Novas 2001, Gibbon and Novas 2008, Nugyen 2007, Petryna 2002 ) as a starting point for critical engagement with questions around the global expansion of a range of medical technologies and questions of citizenship. We explore how, and to what extent, different technologies and forms of medical intervention become grafted onto, or informed by, articulations of citizenship and what the scope (and limits) are of these theoretical orientations for understandings the relationship between medical technology and identity in a variety of diverse cultural contexts.

Anthropologists and others have for some time been examining the way that new health technologies raise important questions about identity and the body, as well as the way such interventions configure future health risks. While the transformative dimensions of health technologies for personhood and identity have been widely examined, there has been less attention to the way that techniques of monitoring and intervening on the body entail and reproduce particular kinds of embodied selves and the ways this may then inform perceptions of, and engagement with, health risks. This symposium aims to re-engage with the question of embodiment and identity critically reconsidering, from an empirical and methodological point of view, how approaches to embodied experience might be used to illuminate the relationship between technology, the body and identity.

Recognizing the need to attend to the way that diverse health technologies constitute and transform risk and embodiment, this interdisciplinary symposium is convened in order to build capacity as well as consolidate emerging scholarship on perspectives of risk, embodiment, and health technologies. This meeting presents a diverse field of novel independent research undertaken by members of our research group in Anthropology. In partnership with members of the Science, medicine, and Society Network, this symposium will also include perspectives on risk and embodiment from a wide range of experts who are actively engaged in the future of British and global health landscapes. Some of the diverse topics addressed in this meeting include the use of mobile health technologies among elders in East London; 'dDeaf Logics' as embodied visual practice; reflections on fieldwork as embodied research; the temporal embodiment of risk in low risk pregnancy; the embodied meaning of food for those at risk of diabetes; local biologies of embodied risk for cancer in Brazil, and other intersections between society and the human body.


09.30-10.00 Welcome and Introductions
  Chairs: Sahra Gibbon and Aaron Parkhurst
10.00-10.30 Lucy Irvine: Elder's experiences of community, embodiment and new health technology in Canning Town
10.30-11.00 Kelly Robinson: Looking to Listen - Unpacking the Logics of dDeafness
11.30-12.00 Discussant David Napier and open discussion
12.00-13.15 Lunch
13.15-13.45 Allison Horan: Better Safe Than Sorry: Exploring The Embodiment(s) of Risk in Pregnancy
13.45-14.15 Kathleen Richardson: The Robot Intermediary: Autism Attachment Styles and Machines
14.15-14.45 Natali Valdez: Anticipating the Reproduction of Obesity
14.45-15.15 Discussant Orkideh Behrouzan and open discussion
15.15-15.30 Break
15.30-16.00 Maria Arteaga Perez: The Social Lives of Assistance Dogs
16.00-16.30 Kenni Bruun: Finding a language of analysis: embodiment and the study of psychotherapeutic intervention
16.30-17.00 Discussant Simon Cohn and open discussion

*For registration please contact Aaron Parkhurst: a.parkhurst@ucl.ac.uk