- Caring devices: about warmth, coldness and 'fit'
- Medische Antropologie
- Volume | Issue number
- 22 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA)
Healthcare technologies are often put in opposition to warm human care and contact. This paper explores the assumed coldness of medical technologies by presenting the case of a technology that is experienced as particularly caring by the patients using them. This is a device to support terminal oncology patients at home. The analysis shows that this device provides care that can indeed be called ‘warm’. However, warmth in itself is not enough for characterising a good professional - or technological - caring relation, because the metaphor downplays the importance of clinical knowledge. The heat metaphors and their opposition do not hold when analysing actual care practices. A third metaphor for good care is proposed where, rather than establishing an ethical (warm) relation of subjectification with patients, or an epistemological (cold) relation of objectification of their bodies, can be described in terms of an ‘aesthetics of fit’ between the carers’ and devices’ interventions and the situation of individual patients.
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