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Multivalent moves in senior home care: From surveillance to care-valence
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology.
2015 (English)In: Anthropology & Aging, ISSN 2374-2267, Vol. 36, no 2, 145-163 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

Recent studies of care argue that it is a relational phenomenon, whereby human and nonhuman entities enter into transformative relations. In this light, different entities of care potentially mediate one another in practice, sometimes with surprising and unforeseen effects. In this article, I trace a similar argument. Drawing on ethnographic material from Sweden and the United States, I proffer that careful attentions to older people at home produce multivalent moves with transformative effects. Increasingly, such attentions encompass new technologies to monitor and observe aging bodies. On this topic, the healthcare literature often invokes the idea of care surveillance. Certainly, surveillance can offer a valuable analytical purchase in the study of care. Yet, care attentions are not always straightforward. Rather, the moving around of aging bodies with technologies can obstruct and transform care and its attentions. At the same time, care attentions can also obstruct and transform aging bodies and their technologies. I argue that the existence of these multivalent, somatechnic moves challenges the notion of surveillance in care. To strengthen this argument, I draw on STS-inspired anthropological studies of care. In turn, I also develop the heuristic term “care-valence”. The key advantage with this term, I proffer, is that it offers an analytical compliment to the notion of care surveillance and helps refocus the analysis on multivalent moves in care. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 36, no 2, 145-163 p.
Keyword [en]
Aging Bodies, Care Technology, Home Care, Surveillance, Sweden, United States
National Category
Social Anthropology Information Systems, Social aspects Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-292800DOI: 10.5195/aa.2015.105OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-292800DiVA: diva2:926667
Available from: 2016-05-09 Created: 2016-05-09 Last updated: 2016-05-12

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Publisher's full texthttp://anthro-age.pitt.edu/ojs/index.php/anthro-age/article/view/105

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Lutz, Peter A.
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Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology
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