Appreciating ontological struggles Peter Danholt, ass. prof., Information studies, Aarhus University In the west – most of us – take for granted that we inhabit a common world, which we share with 6 billion other human beings and multiple other living beings, animals and plants. As Annemarie Mol and Bruno Latour among others have pointed out, the idea of a common world is shared by both realists and perspectivists. Both realists and perspectivists conceive of the world as existing separate from and irrespective of human perception and actions. This multicultural view of the world is one where the world in the singular is taken for granted, but where each and every one of us may have different perspectives and understandings of the world. Latour following the work of Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro suggests the concept of multinaturalism. Multinaturalism in contrast to multiculturalism holds that the world is not separate from and irrespective of our conceptions of it, but tied up with and affected by our perceptions and actions in multiple ways. In this paper, I want to take serious the concept of multinaturalism as a fruitful alternative to multiculturalism and discuss it in relation, not to Amerindian ontology vs. Euroamerican ontology as Viveiros de Castro does, but in relation to the clinical practice of diabetes treatment. I will argue that by conceiving of the encounter in the clinic between a person with diabetes and a diabetes nurse, not as a matter of treating a condition in the world, but as the playing out of an ontological struggle, we become able to appreciate the situation and the treatment differently and in a manner that reconsiders treatment and disease in novel ways. Importantly, when the encounter is conceived of as an ontological struggle it becomes ever more pertinent to intervene and partake in the world building process of the other. Responsibility for the processes of world building becomes the concern of a collective instead of being a concern of the individual. This way of conceiving of treatment in the clinic however resonates very well with the nursing practice of treating diabetes, which in practice seems to be about affecting rather than informing and/or treating persons with diabetes.
Main Research Area:
DASTS - MONITORING MOVEMENTS IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY & SOCIETY., 2009