Rather than alleviate risks in a cost-efficient manner, the rush to build new data-driven business models is producing different ones. If health data is capital, the collection of health data is a new form of profit sharing.
Science fiction reveals that the social facts many have taken for granted — things like gender, race, sex, class, hierarchy, and domination that are often attributed to “human nature” — are not inherently true and could be otherwise in the future.
The temptation of transcendence through technology pervades digital life. But there are risks that come with seeking to exceed the embodied self through data. Clouds of data become the means by which we can be controlled.
I teamed up with Jump Into the Light VR cinema and playlab to lead a workshop on Principles of User Research for VR and AR on May 15, 2018. You can catch up on key insights and reflections from the workshop here.
My Commentary article “Conflicting Assumptions: The Meaning of Price in the Pharmaceutical Economy” was published in August 2017 in the journal Science As Culture. An excerpt is below. Reach out for the final version.
My review essay titled “Feminists Write the Anthropocene: Three Tales of Possibility in Late Capitalism,” was published in the Journal of Cultural Economy in August 2017. This essay reviewed three recent books: Donna Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Alexis Shotwell’s Against Purity: Living Ethically in Compromised Times, and Anna Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins.
It is even tempting to regard food allergy as the signature disease of modernity. If so, a return to pure, clean living — avoiding pollution, pesticides, the hustle and bustle of modern life — would seem to be the solution.
How does the financialization of life itself figure as a new means of producing value in modern technoscience? That is the question that motivated Kirk Fiereck to convene the panel “Biofinance: Speculation, Risk, Debt, and Value from Bios” at the 2016 American Anthropological Association meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota last November.
The purity politics of the allergic home is a politics conjured up by the subtleties of material interdependencies between human bodies and the foods they consume to nurture them but fully realized with the help of hoary histories of gendered and racialized work.
This question of the politics of technological artifacts has perhaps never been more salient than now, when we walk around with computing technologies on our person at all times. Chief among these are the politics of becoming cyborg.
The reproduction of gender in food allergic households isn’t about false consciousness. But the priorities of social life at the household level doesn’t scale perfectly onto priorities for gender equality in American society.
How does raising food allergic children reproduce and intensify gendered divisions of labor in the home?
At this point in the development of a new collaborative project, PIP (Practically In Person), I am thinking about how three different ways of assembling people, spaces, time scales, and things are being dynamically constituted: how intersectional identities, artistic and scholarly conceptions of embodiment, and the capitalist political economic context of modern computing technologies are playfully negotiated to imagine and enact a new digital politics for VR.
I’m pleased to announce that my peer-reviewed scholarly article, titled “The Moral Life of Epinephrine in the United States,” has now been published on the open-access medical anthropology journal, Medicine Anthropology Theory!
I’m working on several projects right now, and one thing that ties my approach to all of them together is concern about the narrative frameworks we use to talk about science, technology, and progress. Three books I’ve read this fall are grounding my thoughts about the narrative challenges of storytelling in our technoscientific world.
Why do emergency medications cost so much? One answer lies in examining how financial industry stakeholders and influencers shape decision making of the people in charge of pharmaceutical sales and development.
Why does Mylan’s EpiPen cost so much? Read my early-stage reflections on the matter over at Somatosphere in a recent blog post.
Recent work in science studies has identified the use of “drugs for life” (Dumit 2012) – drugs which are necessary to sustain life and which also must be taken for the duration of life to have the desired effect – as a dominant trend in today’s biomedical toolkit. What has sometimes been overlooked are the everyday technologies of the self that coexist with these novel pharmaceutical regimens, like eating. The 4S panel, “Eating For Life: When Food Is the Best Medicine,” seeks to explore the intentional and incidental ways that dietary management is used to augment or stand in for pharmaceutical approaches to the maintenance of the human body.
Listening to my early research interviews can be fun. It can also be embarrassing.
For example, one question I asked in early interviews was: “What’s the treatment for food allergies?”
Now, I know that I should have asked, what medications do you use to manage food allergies? That’s what I was interested in: learning about what pills, injections, and other medical products people use to maintain their health while living with food allergies.
Why is it so fun to get angry at Martin Shkreli and Turing Pharmaceuticals’ drug pricing policies? Read my take in my guest feature essay on the anthropology and STS blog Somatosphere: Why Does Everyone Hate Martin Shkreli?