IW006
Medical knowledge, health, crises, and processes of diversification

Convenors:
Gabriele Alex (University of Tuebingen)
David Parkin (Oxford University)
Discussant:
Elisabeth Hsu
Stream:
Invited workshops
Location:
Arts Theatre 1
Start time:
25 August, 2010 at 11:30
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

The workshop interrogates how diversifications are constructed, represented and encountered through medical practices in situations of crises. It explores how crises are managed through medical practices, how knowledge practices construe crises, and how crises are dealt with by controlling difference.

Long abstract:

The idea of crisis, as an increasing uncertainty about the future and an accelerating emergency is very present in the field of health and medical knowledge. This is apparent in daily news about swine flue, declining public funds for health care due to the financial crises, the eradication of biodiversity properties caused by environmental damage and exploitation of natural resources. In this workshop, we aim to explore how medical knowledge and crises become interrelated in different ways through the topic of diversification. We ask how perceived crises are assessed and managed through different medical practices (e.g. medical pluralism, new technologies), how knowledge practices construct crises (e.g. knowledge about epidemics, divination practices), how crises is dealt with by constructing and controlling difference (genetics, spirits), and how diversity is envisioned as endangered resource (biodiversity). We attempt bringing together different perspectives and invite contributions addressing, among others, the following issues: New technologies and therapies do not only respond to crises but can create new differences which result in uncertainties. How are these perceived and controlled? Sickness crises results in the utilization of different therapeutic practices. How does this help people to deal with crises they are encountering? Disappearing medical knowledge traditions and endangered bio properties are experienced as crisis to their holders. How is this dealt with on community, state and transstate level? Imaginations of crisis are constructed through classifications of normalities and deviations based on medical sciences. How is this accomplished and perceived and in whose interest? Who are the actors involved?