MEDICAL TECHNOLOGIES OF THE SELF

Butters, M. (Puhuja)

Aktiviteetti: Puhe- tai esitystyypitSuullinen esitys

Kuvaus

In my doctoral research, I study the ways in which contemporary terminal patients in Finland experience and negotiate the approach of death via language, rituals, and various medical practices. Even in idealized hospice environments, the care of the dying often happens in a biomedical setting with technological apparatuses. The ever-increasing technological mediation also calls for new analytical tools for anthropological study of the medical experience.

In my paper, I consider philosopher Tamar Sharon’s (2014) theoretic approach of mediated posthumanism, which assesses what the relationality between human and non-human subjects specifically means for humans. Many terminal patients live – and die – in close connection with medical equipment, such as a pain pump or oxygen mask. These devices, as well as actual medicine, are not only tools for existing, but can be seen as constitutive of one’s existence. Patients exist in an ontological relationship with them. The notion of “originary prostheticity” is also used to convey the idea of the mediated, relational subject in the field of palliative care. Developed by Bernard Stiegler (1998), its central idea is that the human has always been technological. Rather than technology being “supplemental” to or an “extension” of a human, the human is a result of this relationality with technology.

However, the human-technology relationship, such as seen in the case of biotechnology, is not unproblematic. I enrich my presentation with ethnographic examples from fieldwork in hospital and hospice contexts, demonstrating cases of adaptation and resistance in these intense and complex environments of death.
Aikajakso16 marraskuuta 2018
Tapahtuman otsikko2018 American Anthropological Association (AAA) Annual Meeting
Tapahtuman tyyppiKonferenssi
SijaintiSan Jose, CA, Yhdysvallat (USA)
Tunnustuksen arvoKansainvälinen