There's been quite a lot of talk in recent years about the potential for robots to support, or even replace, therapists in neurological rehabilitation clinics, home-care workers in rest homes, and teachers in the classroom. Often, stories about robotic therapy aides are sold as radical alternatives to contemporary practice. But how radical are they really? A recent post celebrating the success of a robot in helping stroke patients regain upper limb movement (link) illustrates the point. If robots like this are seen as an albeit very accurate and quantifiable extra pair of hands, then they could be said to fall into the same class of technology as another therapist, therapy assistant, or … [Read more...] about How radical is robotic physiotherapy anyway?
A few weeks ago, I took part in a panel discussion on the theme of 'The university is dead: Long live the university'. The keynote presenter - the very brilliant Professor Jane Gilbert - talked about how technology is going to disrupt every aspect of our lives in the future. Ever since the talk I've been pondering how much technology will disrupt the kinds of physiotherapy people might need in the future. Here are just three examples of disruptive technologies and ways of thinking and working that are due for a shakeup in the very near future: Fact-based technical subjects, like the kinds of science-bases subjects commonly thought of as 'core' subject in physiotherapy (anatomy, … [Read more...] about Will technology make physiotherapy obsolete?
Discipline and Punish (1975) was Michel Foucault’s sixth book and it defined Foucault’s approach to what was called the history of ideas. D&P is concerned with the ways we have learnt – over many centuries – to govern people so that they do what we want without force. The book was hugely influential for historians, sociologists and philosophers and influenced a generation of critical thinkers in areas as diverse as architecture, health care and public policy. I first came across D&P when I was reading Foucault’s work for my PhD. Foucault’s explanations of the ways we have learnt to discipline our conduct to make people docile and compliant (especially observation and surveillance, … [Read more...] about Dave Nicholls – Discipline and punish – 30DoS #15
“Disabling Practices” applies a science and technology studies lens to Disability Studies and the sociology of blindness. Drawing on ethnographic work in the North of England, Schillmeier follows the disclosure of visual disability in currency use, how relations between human bodies and money technologies cause visual disability to emerge. The emphasis moves from problem bodies to problem relations. Dis/ability is not solely in bodies or in barriers—as the social or medical models would have it—but unfolds in the interaction between bodies, senses and things (the subtitle of Schillmeier, 2010, integrating this 2007 article). I first read Schillmeier’s work in my M.A. research, in … [Read more...] about Thomas Abrams – Dis/Abling Practices – 30DoS #13
The Body Multiple is an ethnographic experiment: an ethnography of a disease. Mol studies clinical work practices, examining what athlerosclerosis is in different parts of the same hospital. The simple answer: what athlerosclerosis is varies depending on where you study it being made into an object. Mol found that we cannot assume these dispersed enactments are different perspectives of the same disease. Instead, different objects co-exist under the name ‘athlerosclerosis’. “Multiplicity” is her term for this phenomenon of an object being more than one but less than two. TBM has been highly influential in science & technology studies. TBM opened up study of what Mol calls “ontological … [Read more...] about Patty Thille – The body multiple – 30DoS #9
In this post CPN Executive member Michael Rowe describes how Quantifying the body: Monitoring and measuring health in the age of mHealth technologies by Deborah Lupton influenced him. Spanish translation kindly provided by CPN Exec member Alma Viviana Silva. Mobile apps and wearable technologies are increasingly being used in medical and health related contexts and provide us with new and interesting ways of representing and visualising the body. These new products are generally presented in a very positive light with little critical thought given to the broader implications of widespread gathering of biometric data on individuals. This paper presents an alternative point of view … [Read more...] about Michael Rowe – Quantifying the body – 30 DoS #1
The March special issue of the Journal of Sociology has a special issue edited by Emma Kowal and the ever-excellent Alan Petersen, from Deakin and Monash Universities in Australia exploring the sociology of 'bio-knowledge,' and so may be of real interest to physiotherapists. Kowal and Petersen's editorial offers a potted history of sociology's interest in the field and provides some very useful references. The editorial is reproduced below, and an index of the full edition of the journal can be found here (link). Sociology of bio-knowledge at the limits of life In what has been called ‘the century of biology’ (Venter and Cohen, 2004), the reach of the ‘bio’ seems limitless. This prefix … [Read more...] about Sociology of bio-knowledge at the limits of life