Accepted paper:

The Cochlear Implant and the Impositions of Hearing


Markus Spoehrer (University of Konstanz, Germany)
Robert Stock (University of Konstanz)
Beate Ochsner (University of Konstanz )

Paper short abstract:

The paper analyses the practices and process of mediatization of the cochlear implant, which link human and non-human actors and thus either dis- or enable socio-cultural participation.

Paper long abstract:

The paper analyses the practices of the cochlear implant (CI), which link human and non-human actors and thereby dis- or enable socio-cultural participation. We focus on the mediation processes that promise or prevent the assembly of different actors in the context of the CI, as well as the related programs of action that are to be located between euphoria and refusal, claims and demands, promises of participation and practices of (self-)normalization. Hence, the CI is not a mere time-resistant medical instrument. Rather, all human and non-human actors enrolled in the assemblage are produced in co-evolutionary processes and adjusted in reciprocal adaptation. Consequently, the CI functions as "putty", which separates and relates the upcoming biosocial communities. As a quasi-object, it remains transformable and reusable. The processual production of the CI equally shapes media practices (and is formed by them), which re-configure the understanding of what it means to "hear" normally as they challenge the concepts of auditory perception. By describing these practices, implied regimes and (counter-)politics we will also ask how academic analysis of specific media constellations of hearing can contribute to the discussion of Stenger's concept of "cosmopolitics". The paper explores (1) the medial conditions of collective or individual participation/non-participation in CI-communities, (2) the audiovisual operations that produce cultural knowledge of hearing, non-hearing and CI-hearing and (3) the ethical, socio-political, technical and philosophical discourses about the CI ranging from therapy to enhancement, which all regulate the conditions of social ex- and inclusion.

panel T074
Cosmopolitical Research and STS