Lectures

Pains, pleasures, and a new electric wheelchair

This article is part of the series:

A Wednesday in May 2017, Vienna, Austria

The door opens. Behind it is Frau Schöbel, a tiny woman in her early seventies.[1] Through her glasses, her eyes are piercing. Her lipstick is impeccable and matched to the scarf tied around her neck. 

Frau Schöbel is one of the people I met on the dialysis unit at the City hospital …

Lectures

The ‘chronic’ lives of failing organs: afflictions of ambivalent care in Mexico

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Life has always been difficult, Maria del Rosario told me, but she coped. That was before all the sickness. When her mother’s kidneys began to fail, she felt traumatised, utterly overwhelmed. No matter what she or anyone else did to help, it was no good. Their lives simply fell apart.[i]

Maria, a single mother of two, lived in Balcones …

Lectures

Chronic caring in unstable landscapes

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The current ‘end of AIDS era,’ referred to as Treat All in policy circles,is characterized by the primary aim of identifying and putting all HIV-positive people on antiretroviral treatment (ART) as quickly as possible following diagnosis (Kenworthy, et al 2017). Under Treat All, life-long pharmaceutical treatment is increasingly initiated in healthy bodies as part of a broad …

Lectures

Chronic living: ethnographic explorations of daily lives swayed by (multiple) medical conditions

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On the 12th of January 2020, the World Health Organization confirmed that the “mystery virus” which, according to reports from China, had infected some 50 people in the city of Wuhan, was not SARS following the genetic sequencing of a “novel coronavirus”. Within two weeks, Wuhan’s hospitals were overwhelmed, and the city was sent into lockdown as health authorities …

Lectures

African Immigrant Care Workers & COVID in the US: Their Fears, Protections, and Recalibrations

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The US healthcare system depends on the labor of immigrant healthcare professionals, a fact mainly unrecognized and unreported during the pandemic. Twenty-eight percent of physicians are foreign-born, as are 22 percent of nursing assistants (Batalova 2020). The immigrant professionals make up even more of the workforce in healthcare positions that are undervalued, in comparison to what is considered skilled medical …

Lectures

Window Work: Framing Eldercare in the Age of COVID-19

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In this blogpost, we draw from our current fieldwork on the island of Ærø, a place which has branded itself as “the digital island”[1], to explore how care workers tinker with screens during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to care for the elderly from a distance.

A New Way of Seeing

Marie is a healthcare worker on the …