Teknologi og identitet - det posthumane vilkår
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Technology and identity - the posthuman condition

The western world today is techno-scientific through and through. We are surrounded by and involved with techno-scientific products which provide new opportunities, problems, and risks (Beck 1992, Castells 1992, Latour 1999). We make use of smartphones, apps, and social media and have become both concumers and producers of vast amounts of information concerning health, politics, economy, culture etc. Within the field of scientific and technological studies, the idea of identity and sociality as 'troubled' is a central thought. Donna Haraway's famous cyborg figure represents the compound hybrid existence that is a consequences of the modern life condition. (Haraway 1991).

However, the cyborg is also to be regarded as a general condition, bound up with human activity, the use of tools, and our relation to materiality (Latour 1999). This panel invites empirical contributions and discussion concerning the identity shaping consequences of concrete technological and material objects. We wish to focus upon the connections which we, more or less consciously and in various situations, make with technologies and things, and on how we may investigate and conceptualise tecnologically mediated identity creation.

Agata Krasowska-Marut: The Cult of Technology In Everyday Life – Contemporary Animism?

The title question concerns object – subject relations in contemporary society. In this paper I would like to present, that the human can be the both: object and subject, but not in traditional terms of determinism. Influence and reflexivity  of  the object and subject depends on social and cultural context, status and individual choice. I assume, that technology can be expressed as the kind of the contemporary animism. Thus, I decided to articulate the role of technology in two meanings: (1) technology as the using of robots – physical memory as an entities additional memory; body prosthesis; therapeutic and aesthetic surgery; migrations; communications; personification of our every day technical objects, emotional aspects of technology. (2) technology as the human creation – it is not only about attributes of social status, but with the expert systems. Entities who following the guidelines of expert systems are like objects, because of striving to perfection (like robots). More than a contemporary animism needs a shaman, ecstatic people who have specific social influence. Who the ecstatic people are? What kind of meanings they use?

My analytical approach is connected with critical discourse analysis. In my paper I deal with condition of contemporary human beyond determinism and constructivism by analyzing the symbols and attitudes.

Anne-Mette Nortvig: Teknologi og udfordret professionsidentitet: E-læring1 i fysioterapeutuddannelsen

Med den symbolske interaktionisme i Meads og Blumers forståelse ses mennesket som et forhold mellem me og I, hvor andre mennesker i form af den generaliserede anden spiller en afgørende rolle for den enkeltes identitet. I interaktionen med mennesker og samfund udvikles identiteten som en løbende proces, og andre menneskers spejling er derfor af stor vigtighed i beskrivelsen af én selv som menneske og som professionel. Når denne identitetsforståelse bringes ind i en uddannelsesmæssig sammenhæng og dermed beskæftiger sig med udvikling af professionsidentitet, har billedet af den professionelle derfor stor betydning i den studerendes udvikling af egen professionsidentitet. Denne udvikling af professionsidentitet kan imidlertid blive udfordret, når det traditionelle billede er knyttet til professionel viden om og beherskelse af kroppen, og den samtidig skal etableres ved hjælp af netbaseret undervisning og e-læring.

Dette paper vil tage udgangspunkt i empiriske findings, der har vist sig i begyndelsen af et ph.d.- projekt, som beskæftiger sig med netbaseret udvikling af professionsidentitet i uddannelserne til fysioterapeut og sygeplejerske. Projektets første halve år har været viet til undersøgelse og kategorisering af de fysioterapeutstuderendes forståels af professionsidentitet og af deres ideer til udvikling af denne i e-læringsuddannelsen. Her viser undersøgelserne fra feltarbejde og interviews med studerende i fysioterapeutuddannelsen, at der kan være tale om en udfordret professionsidentitet hos de fysioterapeutstuderende, idet den forståelse, de har af fysioterapeutens professionsidentitet i høj grad står i modsætning til det billede, de oplever at blive set i som e- studerende.

Med baggrund i disse første findings vil der blive lagt op til en diskussion af e-læring både som trussel og som styrke i det posthumane samfunds professionsuddannelser til fag, hvor kroppen og mødet med det andet menneske står i centrum.

Bjarke Nielsen: Connections & Cuttings: Drug Addiction & Outpatient Treatment

It has been well-argued that social problems work (perception and categorization of clients) produces specific institutional identities; categories are not innocent descriptions but ‘make up people’ in specific ways. I will draw on insights from this research tradition, but I will also try to broaden the analytical gaze by drawing on insights from actor-network-theory. Based on 10 months of ethnographic fieldwork on encounters between social workers and drug addicted clients in outpatient treatment in Denmark, this paper aims to trace connections between different actors (i.e. legal and illegal drugs and social workers and clients). When heroin addiction is experienced as a loss of control, heroin acts. To regain a sense of control or at least a more stable situation, drug addicts are offered methadone maintenance (a legal long acting opioid vs. heroin as an illegal short acting opioid). But pharmacological actors do not act in isolation. If welfare benefits are a mess and housing is lacking, social workers find it very difficult to stabilize clients pharmacologically speaking. Thus, establishing better connections to welfare benefits and to housing is often necessary before methadone can become an actor. Nevertheless, picking up your medicine only gets the job half done; clients must learn to administer methadone in relation to their craving for heroin and in relation to their drug using friends. In other words, many actors must be connected before social work is able to act, and in this process both social workers, clients and materialities are active rather than passive.

Finn Olesen: Patient, Citizen and User

For decades, the internal organisation of work and communication between health professionals has had a significant technological dependency, but these years we see a politically determined move toward more technology-based interactions with patients, not least in terms of telehomecare. This is most significant in relation to patients with chronic diseases. The reasons are many, but most important is probably that the major part of all expenditures in healthcare goes to this vast group of patients. In Denmark it has recently been estimated that 1.3 million persons over the age of 18 has one or more chronic diseases. At the same time the number of health professionals is decreasing, not just for financial reasons, but also because of demographic changes in the population with more elderly citizens and fewer workable people.

If patients with chronic diseases are able to take a more active role in handling their own conditions, thanks to telehomecare systems, it will mean great savings to the health system and the wellfare state, both financially and in terms of professional assistance. And the patients will benefit in terms of easier and more direct contact to specialists. But what does it take to be a patient who is not primarely in the hands of professionals most of the time, but is rather depending on own capacities to interact with and through technological devices?

In my presentation I will argue that we see a significant change from the ‘passive’ patient to the active, home-based ‘self-managing patient’. The latter is to take an active role in several aspects of her or his own condition along a number of lines. The patient must be able to engage in sociotechnical interface communication; to produce and transmit data; to take responsibility for technical support; she must learn how to distinguish faulty readings from correct ones; be able to assist the health professional, etc. Hence, a patient must know how to act in new spheres of her life. But how does such terms and demands match the basic role of being a sick person? In the presentation I will argue that the current notion of a patient seems insufficient to encompass the actual scope of roles or agencies designated to telehomecare patients. They are also users, consumers and citizens at the same time, and latent needs to be ‘only’ a patient’ may be hard to facilitate, due to the reliance on the self-managing patients.


Peter Danholt, Assistant Professor, Department of Aesthetics and Communication - Information and Media Studies, Aarhus University

Contact: pdanholt@hum.au.dk

Panel 1

Olesen, Finn: Patient, Citizen and User: Sociotechnical Self-management in Posthuman healthcare

Nielsen, Louise Yung: Digitale kroppe – nye medier og agential realisme

Krasowska-Marut, Agata: The Cult of Technology In Everyday Life – Contemporary Animism?

Panel 2

Nielsen, Bjarke: Connections & Cuttings: Drug Addiction & Outpatient Treatment

Nortvig, Anne-Mette: Teknologi og udfordret professionsidentitet: E-læring i fysioterapeutuddannelsen

Chair:  Peter Danholt

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Revised 2012.01.15