1 Department of Information and Media Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Aarhus University, Aarhus University2 Department of Aesthetics and Communication - Information and Media Studies, School of Communication and Culture, Arts, Aarhus University
Politics of care Improvement
Christopher Gad. Ph.d. Dept. of Information and Media Studies Randi Markussen. Associate Professor, Dept. of Information and Media Studies. firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract: Surveying humanness -politics of care improvement For various reasons we both were subjected to a specific survey procedure carried out in a Danish county in order to improve treatment of people who have suffered from long-term illnesses. The surveys concern not only feed back on how people experience their present and past interaction with the social services and health care system; they also ask people to indicate the state and development of a large collection of biological and psychological symptoms and psycho-social problems. However, the surveys say nothing about how the information will be of use to the people who answer the procedure or how this scientific intervention will be put to use more specifically within the public sector. No doubt the idea of improving the caring for patients is well-meant, and both of us dutifully answered the questionnaires and returned them. However, we became curious of the ideas about subjectivity and humanness that ground the way in which these surveys are conducted: Are subjectivity and personhood imagined to be already there, and communication as the free-flow of information? Is it therefore considered non-problematic that people commit themselves to remembering their past and present experience of illness and share it in detail within an - to them - unknown context? Can it even be imagined as a positive end, as ‘making explicit’ (in a popular psychological perspective) is considered to be therapeutic and good in itself? We will discuss those questions from a Foucaultian and ANT perspective, where one does not accept that pre-existing subjects are exposed to survey procedures. Subjectivity is rather regulated and constituted in this practice. The relevant question becomes in what particular ways subjectivity and humanness are performed here? We want to look into this question exploring the agency of surveys, their effects and the politics involved in such a scientific practice.