Monday, 30 June 2014

Two-day symposium ‘Concerning Relations: Sociologies of Conduct, Care and Affect’ 28-29 Nov. 2014

We are pleased to announce a two-day symposium ‘Concerning Relations: Sociologies of Conduct, Care and Affect’, 28/29 Nov. 2014, University of Exeter. The aim of this exciting international workshop is to bring together leading researchers, practitioners and scholars from care studies, sociology of health and illness, science and technology studies, humanities and philosophy to rethink care. We also plan to publish the results of the workshop.

This interdisciplinary symposium, funded by Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness (FSHI) and Exeter University, aims to interrogate the implications of shifting the focus of health care away from ‘delivery’ towards care as an ongoing everyday accomplishment. The situatedness of care relations and how situated care relations are practiced and experienced are vital to understanding the impacts care has upon patients, families and healthcare staff. This shift represents a contrasting view on care, from one that is predicated upon a discourse of absence (of care) or lack (of dignity) to the affective interactional relations between social actors. Such shifts of focus are of prime concern as care may be viewed less as a commodity which can be lost, saved, traded or withheld, but as a relation that is deeply embedded within institutional contexts, of individuals and the social worlds they inhabit.

This symposium examines spaces of collisions, elisions or alignments of social worlds, within which the affective dimension of social life in healthcare may be fruitfully examined. Drawing upon relational concerns as a distinct and distinctive mode of sociological inquiry, the symposium seeks to develop an understanding of care and its consequences that help us get beyond the economics of care as a commodified and managed form of engagement with the ‘other’. Making this shift has huge potential for addressing long-standing, global concerns around ‘cultures of poor care’ or ‘care as absence’, the seemingly intractable problems that are not readily amenable to a quick or even a slow fix.

The symposium examines how the fix, the cure, remains an issue of perspective. Central questions include:
  • What if the ‘problem’ of caring in health care settings was viewed differently, how would the issues be seen through an affective, situated relational perspective, how would an affective orientation resolve or heighten long standing and seemingly intractable problems of institutional care?
  • Is the demand for a cure (the fix) a manifestation of a broader political economy at work, is it a question of the mundane interaction order where contemporary modes of conduct reinforces distance, or is the organisational ‘cure’ simply a manifestation of organisational disease?
  • Can materials, economies, institutional practices and modes of accounting contribute to poor clinical and managerial conduct and do such devices legitimate a focus away from the patient?
Rather than provide a critique with no visible solution, or provide a simplification of institutional mores, a more cogent question may be what or who is now being cared for. Once such questions of central importance to a relational sociology have been attended to, the case for re-imagining the organization of care as a situated accomplishment can be made, a case based upon sound sociological reasoning. This symposium challenges what it means to care.

The organizers would appreciate general information about your possible participation before 15.07.2014. Please reply to: m.schillmeier AT

Kind regards

Michael Schillmeier (Exeter)
Joanna Latimer (Cardiff)
Paul White (Swansea)
Alexandra Hillman (Cardiff)
Professor Michael Schillmeier
Schumpeter Fellow / VolkswagenStiftung
Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology
Centre for the Studies of Life Sciences
Byrne House
University of Exeter
Exeter EX4 4PJ

New Nuevo Neu
Eventful Bodies: The Cosmopolitics of Illness. Ashgate (forthcoming)

Sunday, 29 June 2014

"ICU" - Technical Haemorrhage & Chlorophyllic Clots

humanistic ------------------------------------------- mechanistic

ICU - Intensive Care Unit
GIS - Geographical Information System

Friday, 27 June 2014

Competition: Win attendance at the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Meeting in Oxford, UK - Deadline June 30

In order to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day, Global Health Trials is running a competition. The first prize is attendance of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (RSTMH) Meeting in Oxford, UK, on 25-27 September 2014, covering transport, accommodation, conference registration and living expenses. The winner and two runners-up will also win one-year fellowships with the RSTMH. Please note that the deadline for entries is June 30, 2014.

In order to enter this competition, you must be working in a research role (for example, as an investigator, nurse, field worker, lab technician or data manager, etc) and currently be working in a low or low-middle income country as defined by the world bank.
To enter, you can send us either a two-minute video you have made (you can use your smartphone) OR a photo-board (up to fifteen photos) on one of the following three topics:
  1. A day in the life of our clinical trial(s)
  2. How we are building research capacity in our health facility
  3. My health research career
An important aim of this competition is to celebrate and recognise the quantity and diversity of clinical trials that are being conducted around the Globe. Tell the Global Health Network community about the trial that you are working on!
Again, please note that the deadline for entries is June 30, 2014.

Please refer to the following link for more information:

With best regards,
Tamzin Furtado
Project Manager
info AT

The Global Health Clinical Trials ( is an open collaboration aiming to support clinical trials in resource-limited settings by providing guidance, training, resources and career development. Please do visit and let us know what you think.

HIFA profile: Tamzin Furtado is Project Manager of Global Health Trials, UK. Professional interests: Global health, clinical trials. tamzin.furtado AT

My source: HIFA2015

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

For portals, speak patients' language ( c/o Healthcare IT News )

Mike Miliard's 

in Healthcare IT News is a reminder of accessibility and engagement at the level of a communities languages.

This is one of the reasons why I am committed to using Drupal, to try to make use of its Internationalization capabilities amongst others. 

Thanks to Mike's post I'm now familiar with a 'full court press' as a hospital - enterprise wide no less - seeks to achieve defined patient engagement levels by accessing their electronic health record.

This begs the question of what constitutes the patients' language? I don't just mean the purely linguistic forms of Chinese, Korean, Russian and Greek mentioned in the article. The effort is driven by the statutory demands of meaningful use, but what of the patient's general literacy, IT and health literacies? How do patients make sense of their own health (or another in the role of a carer) not just in a given language, but culturally from a medical sociological and public health perspective? What is the community's vocabulary when it comes to health?

How can we assure that meaningfulness? How can we affirm that use and critically translate use into patient benefits and self-efficacy?

You could also entitle Mike's article as

4 portals speak patients' language

humanistic ------------------------------------------- mechanistic
Health Literacy, Accessibility
Measures (health literacy, patient engagement, health and well-being, clinical outcomes)

Cultural Diversity, Languages, Carer

'Meaningful Use', Standards, Legislation, Policy

When we focus on languages we must remember that listening is a great gift. Whether as health and IT professionals, educators, patients and carers, listening to the care domains can help us integrate diverse social, clinical, policy and technical objectives.

What do these portals say to you?

Mike Miliard twitter

Saturday, 21 June 2014

disABLED: What's behind a symbol?

humanistic ------------------------------------------- mechanistic

NY State

Well done NY excellent MOVE!
(and hope to visit next year)

My source: James Moore, Clash of Symbols, The Independent 20 June 2014, p.35.
Image source from upper right:

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Book: The Empathy Exams & Michel Serres Institute

humanistic ------------------------------------------- mechanistic
The Natural Sciences
Local, Society & Socio-


As recent posts reveal I'm overwhelmed with reading at present. Material that is essential for the TEL course and reading more tangential and yet potentially enjoyable titles. It will be a busy summer as all this is brought together(!?). Especially as I've a literature search in mind as a module submission - progress permitting.

The publication of Jamison's book this (N) spring sits well after the findings last year about the benefits of reading fiction in increasing empathy.

Since 2008-2009 I've lost touch with the work of Michel Serres:

Jones, Peter, Exploring Serres’ Atlas, Hodges’ Knowledge Domains and the Fusion of Informatics and Cultural Horizons (Aug 15, 2007). SOCIAL INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CONNECTING SOCIETY AND CULTURAL ISSUES. Available at SSRN: or

- having only just found the Institute. I only scratched the surface of Serres' oeuvre in the above paper and must recharge my reflective capacity.
Book cover image:,,20800427,00.html

My source: The Empathy Exams
FT Weekend, June 7-8, 2014.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Book: Mapping It Out An - Alternative Atlas of Contemporary Cartographies

Published today [UK ]
Mapping It Out

An Alternative Atlas of Contemporary Cartographies

Jobey, J.  The Shape of Things, FT Weekend Magazine, May 31 / June 1 2014,26-29.

Image source:

Blood: A Biography of the Stuff of Life

humanistic ------------------------------------------- mechanistic

Blood, blood cells, functions, blood pressure, blood gases, haemoglobin, Hb - Hgb, bruising, circulation, pulse, time, events, measures, observations, processes, systems, chaos ...

emphasis here on *biography*

Image: Waterstones

My source:
The Times, June 7, 2014.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Books: The Geometry of Meaning, Gärdenfors & Geometry and Meaning, Widdows are two additions to my library. They are technical in parts and beyond my math and technical abilities, but as background this is essential reading.

The module 1 study, still to be marked provided a prompt to install R and obtain some summary statistics. Widdow's Geometry and Meaning includes details of the software used in the text. See the companion website below. While Gärdenfors' book The Geometry of Meaning is new, Widdow's text is a decade old and so demands some checking of software. I notice there are broken links on the companion site. The book, both in fact are great resources even as they increase the permanence of the geometry upon my furrowed brow...

Dominic Widdows, Geometry and Meaning - Companion website

Related posts:

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Psychiatric Bulletin - Letter: Psychiatry for medical students: need for a more holistic approach to teaching?

From: Psychiatric Bulletin -

Kristina Rodney and Laura Wilkinson

Kristina Rodney and Laura Wilkinson are both ST4 medical students, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK, email:k.rodney AT

We are two medical students who wish to offer a perspective on undergraduate education and psychiatry.

During our student placement, we attended the old age psychiatry module at the Northern Deanery MRCPsych programme focusing on dementia and ethics. This was aimed at trainees and not specifically medical students but we were surprised to find that this was not above our level of knowledge. This prompted discussion of undergraduate psychiatry training more broadly, which we felt focused too heavily on the diagnosis of mental illness and less so on the holistic approach to the patient and their presentation as covered by the MRCPsych course. From our experience of undergraduate psychiatry we feel that the assessment by means of a logbook of conditions encourages students to find patients with a certain diagnosis, and in doing so overlooks the true essence of psychiatry. To our mind this incorporates the ability to consider all aspects of a patient’s life and formulating these, while demonstrating compassion for another person at a time of most need.

Through choosing a 6-week placement in old age psychiatry we have been able to explore the specialty more thoroughly and broadly than facilitated within the standard undergraduate programme, and we have realised how little of psychiatry we have been exposed to as undergraduates. We have become more aware of the importance of considering the patient’s personal and social circumstances alongside their diagnosis, and how these can influence each other. Specifically, the importance of a sound ethical approach to practice has been highlighted through the higher-level teaching we experienced, where the Mental Capacity Act was discussed in detail.

We believe that it would benefit undergraduates to experience a more realistic and rounded placement in psychiatry and truly consider the social implications of mental illness. As it currently stands, undergraduate education in psychiatry is oversimplified to focus on diagnosis and does not acknowledge the capabilities of medical students to adopt a holistic approach. An opportunity to consider all aspects of a psychiatrist’s role may encourage more students to consider a career in this field.


I have contacted the authors of this letter to inform them of Hodges' model and its scope in assuring holistic and integrated care. The model could also facilitate curriculum development. The authors of the letter are not endorsing Hodges' model, I am seeking to highlight the need for such a resource.

Thanks to:
Lucy Alexander
Rights and Permissions Manager
Royal College of Psychiatrists

Monday, 9 June 2014

h2cm - Latest paper published in International Journal of Person Centered Medicine

The latest paper on Hodges' model is now published online:

Using a conceptual framework to explore the dimensions of recovery and their relationship to service user choice and self-determination


The concept of recovery is widely applied within service delivery in the field of mental health. The dimensions of recovery were explored using a singular conceptual framework known as Hodges’ model, which is shown to be suited to this particular task. This arises from the model’s structure, in that it encompasses the individual-group and a care domain specific to the political aspects of both health and social care. The evidence was found by relating recovery to the model’s care domains, which is also relevant to the experience of mental health service users and developments over the past decade in mental health service provision. Particular attention is given to the ‘Recovery Star’. This can be used as a key-working and outcomes tool. The discussion is also placed in a context of the current socio-economic climate, notably the ‘politics of recovery’ at a time of austerity.

With thanks to the editors, referees and to Gerry Bennison and Dawn Talbot for assisting in the beginning of this paper including their directions on the Recovery STAR; and for very helpful advice on the final drafts provided by Dr. Andrew Shepherd, and Prof. George Kernohan.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

This May Hurt A Bit ...

humanistic ------------------------------------------- mechanistic

 Here -

Here -

- Here (especially)
and Here...

and here - all around these care domains in the Spiritual domain.

Friday, 6 June 2014

ENS4Care: Evidence Based Guidelines for Nurses and Social Care Workers for the deployment of eHealth services

From the ENS4Care website:

“Innovative, high quality, safe and cost-effective national healthcare systems are dependent upon policy-makers and stakeholders developing and implementing high-quality eHealth services”
(Sheikh et al., 2011)

This is particularly the case under the current social and economic situation plaguing EU Member States. ENS4Care is designed as response to this need with an ultimate aim of contributing to an evidence based deployment of eHealth services in the EU and Europe. While Member States are individually striving to respond to a growing demand for quality, safety, equity and access, they are at the same time challenged to be innovative with regards to the sustainability of their healthcare system. Furthermore, in order to render health and social protection more adequate and sustainable, there is a need to invest in health and social care staff´s skills and capabilities to support people in need (Social Investment Package, 2013). The identification of these skills together with the exchange of good, innovative, implemented and cost-effective solutions and approaches is increasingly needed. In this context, the policy initiatives set out in the Digital Agenda ensure that the European Commission, closely cooperates with EU Member States, and different stakeholders, are the driving forces to making clear implementation proposals in the field of eHealth services.

My source: GANM (Global Alliance for Nursing and Midwifery)

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Would you let a robot take your blood?

A Robot With A Hypodermic Needle 

Written by Lucy Black
27 July 2013

Would you let a robot take your blood? The answer to this question illuminates our real relationship to machines that aspire to rise above the robot vac. Is there another sort of uncanny valley?

Veebot is a very clever use of some basic image processing plus some very accurate positioning mechanisms. It first locates a good vein using infrared. Once it has a target it switches to ultrasound to make sure that there is enough blood flow to make it worth inserting the needle.


My source:
International Society for Presence Research: June

humanistic ------------------------------------------- mechanistic
trust, confidence, anxiety, expectations, 'needles' - phobia, previous experiences, model of the 'other', intelligence, physical tests to differentiate mental health problems, subjective feelings - 'creepiness'
safety, measurement, imaging, mechanics, technology, electromagnetic spectrum, infra red, ultrasound, motion, accuracy, research, trials, evidence, logic, blood sample,  appearance, (surgical robots R-here)
in             RFT - 'right first time'
public awareness, interaction, relationships, community of practice - acceptance, publicity, media, dissemination
investment, policy, certification, law, standards, testing, supervision, labour relations

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

L-earning a Living with McLuhan

humanistic ------------------------------------------- mechanistic

In 1964, Marshall McLuhan predicted that the future of work would involve -

 "learning a living"... .


communities of practice
earning a living

Parchoma, G. (2006). A proposed e-learning policy field for the Academy. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 18(3), 230-40. (p.232).
Reading for module 2.

Never give up on someone ...

humanistic ------------------------------------------- mechanistic

Never give up on someone with Mental Illness – 

when 'I' is replaced with -

'illness' becomes 'Wellness'

Thanks to colleague Julie Draper - apparently this is doing the rounds on Facebook and elsewhere.