Article | Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research | Medication as Infrastructure: Decentring Self-care

Title:
Medication as Infrastructure: Decentring Self-care
Author:
Peter Danholt: Information studies, Dept. of Aesthetics & Communication, Aarhus University, Denmark Henriette Langstrup: Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.124513
Read article:
Full article (pdf)
Year:
2012
Volume:
4
Theme:
Theme: Self-care Translated into Practice Edited by Ã…sa Alftberg and Kristofer Hansson

Pages:
513-532
No. of pages:
20
Publication type:
Article
Published:
2012-11-09


Drawing on science and technology studies (STS), and specifically the concept of infrastructure as conceptualised by Bowker and Star (2000; Star 1999), this paper argues and empirically demonstrates that self-care may be considered a practice that is thoroughly sociotechnical, material, distributed and de-centred. Comparing the practices related to medication in the treatment of asthma, type 2 diabetes and haemophilia, we show that in practice there is no ’self’ in self-care. More specifically, the ’self’ in self-care is an actor who is highly dependent on, and intertwined with infrastructures of care, in order to be self-caring. Infrastructures of care are the more or less embedded ’tracks’ along which care may ’run’, shaping and being shaped by actors and settings along the way. Obtaining prescriptions, going to the pharmacy, bringing medication home and administering it as parts of daily life are commonplace activities embedded in the fabric of life, especially for those living with a chronic condition. However, this procurement and emplacement of medication involves the establishment and ongoing enactment of infrastructures of care, that is, the connections between various actors and locations that establish caring spaces and caring selves.

Locations and actors are included as allies in treating chronic conditions outside the clinical setting, but these infrastructures may also be ambiguous, with respect to their effects; they may simultaneously contribute to the condition’s management and neglect. Particularly precarious is management at the fringes of healthcare infrastructure, where allies, routines and general predictability are scarce. We conclude by arguing that these insights may induce a greater sensitivity to existing infrastructures and practices, when seeking to introduce new infrastructures of care, such as those promoted under the headings of ’telemedicine’ and ’healthcare IT’.

Keywords: Self-care; infrastructure of care; medication; chronic conditions; exnovation

Volume 4, Theme: Theme: Self-care Translated into Practice Edited by Ã…sa Alftberg and Kristofer Hansson

, Article 27, 2012

Author:
Peter Danholt, Henriette Langstrup
Title:
Medication as Infrastructure: Decentring Self-care:
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.124513
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  • Volume 4, Theme:: Theme: Self-care Translated into Practice Edited by Ã…sa Alftberg and Kristofer Hansson

    , Article 27, 2012

    Author:
    Peter Danholt, Henriette Langstrup
    Title:
    Medication as Infrastructure: Decentring Self-care:
    DOI:
    10.3384/cu.2000.1525.124513
    Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
    Citations:
  • Sarah Wadman & Lia E. Bang (2015). Rationalising prescribing: Evidence, marketing and practice-relevant knowledge. Social Science & Medicine, 135: 109. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.04.032
  • ASKE JUUL LASSEN (2015). Keeping disease at arm's length – how older Danish people distance disease through active ageing. Ageing and Society, 35(07): 1364. DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X14000245
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