CFP for the 4S Annual Meeting — Medical Imaginaries and Technological Futures

Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) Annual Meeting
Crown Plaza Cleveland City Center Hotel, November 2-5, 2011

Medical Imaginaries and Technological Futures:
Transformations of Subjectivity in Science and Medicine

Co-organizers: Betsey Brada, Tazin Karim, Ramah McKay, Aaron Seaman on behalf of the Science, Technology and Medicine (STM) Interest Group, Society for Medical Anthropology

Although medical technologies may be created to serve specific pragmatic purposes, they also carry out their own “social lives”. They operate in a myriad of ways: as valued commodities, as unintended actors, as mediating lenses, etc. From proliferation to distribution and use, the ever-evolving life course of a technology is embedded in an equally fluid, complex network of actors and institutions, which in turn transforms the cultural meaning of these objects over time. This panel will shed light on the reciprocal, diachronic relationships between humans and technologies, broadly conceived, and their effects on conceptions of identity, subjectivity and personhood. In particular, we ask:

  • How do changing medical imaginaries reshape medical, technological, and social futures? How is the future of health and humanity imagined, and how does the production of new technologies reflect or reconceptualize these futures?
  • How do technological transformations of both selves and socialities – through social networks, technologies of relationship, and technologies of the self– change contemporary understandings of technology and subjectivity?
  • How do new technological mediations of selfhood, subjectivity, and sociality transform experiences of science, medicine, and the body?

We seek papers exploring these and related questions about subjectivity, technology, and medicine. Please send abstracts to: Tazin Karim (karimtaz at msu dot edu) and Aaron Seaman (ats2 at uchicago dot edu)


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