New journal article by Anna Harris: Gridding bodies09/02/23
Recently Anna Harris published a new article: ‘Gridding bodies: a topographical survey of teaching touch in medical school’ in the journal: the Sense and Society. Drawing from her ethnographic research in what is known as the “skills laboratory” in the Netherlands, she focusses on how students learn how to perform an abdominal examination, a tactile practice learnt via a grid. Read more about the article below!
Anna Harris shows in this article that the recent technological interventions in healthcare, such as robots or artificial intelligence, are often described as being made with algorithms and data points in contrast to human care, which is couched in terms of intimacy and fleshy encounters, exemplified in the sensory act of touch. She problematizes such distinctions by looking at how training the sensory skills of diagnosis also involves technologies with data points, specifically grids. Bringing ethnographic material into dialogue with accounts of grids in art history, history of science and computer science, she suggests that gridding is an important, multisensory and multimodal practice of boundary-making in medicine, but that moreover it helps build clinical perception. In doing so, just as in the making of robots and smart machines, these grids enact their own biopolitical assumptions. This article develops an empirical and theoretical understanding of how technologies and flesh become affectively entangled in the very earliest of clinical encounters.
The full text can be read via this link.