Science in Public, July 2017

sip2This week, Ros was at the Science in Public conference in Sheffield to present our paper Self-Monitoring Practices: Imagining Users, Shaping Markets as part of a panel on the ‘contemporary politics of disability and enhancement’. The presentation offered reflections from a paper that is concerned with everyday health monitoring using technologies acquired independently of health professionals. We focus on how industry and policy stakeholders envisage self-monitoring practices, and how these expectations are inscribed in products. We consider the cases of blood pressure monitoring and weighing scales in the paper.

The panel we presented in featured work from Gareth Thomas from Cardiff exploring public discourses surrounding Down’s syndrome, and Daniel Navon from UC San Diego discussing his work on the population-level implications of non-invasive prenatal genetic testing. The three linked nicely with Kirsty Liddiard, Dan Goodley and Fiona Kumari Campbell’s papers earlier in the day on enhancement and disability.

sip1The conversations prompted by all of these papers were as to be expected given the overarching conference theme of ‘Science, technology and humanity’; questions lead to great discussions about the roles of the state and the individual, the shifting definitions of illness and disability, and the manner in which new (and older) technologies inflect on these issues. The paper we presented here opens up the question of how users undertake self-monitoring, so colleagues at the conference were also really interested to hear more about the ongoing fieldwork we are undertaking, interviewing users of the kinds of technologies our presentation focused on. In addition, having both American and UK examples in this panel offered a nice opportunity to compare the current situations of British and American healthcare services, the different landscapes that these various technologies work across.

You can read the abstract for our paper here.

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