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ISSN 0869-5377
Author: Mol Annemarie

Mol Annemarie

Professor of Anthropology of the Body, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), University of Amsterdam (UvA), Amsterdam Roeterseilandcampus, B-REC B 8.01 blvd, NieuweAchtergracht 166, 1018 WV Amsterdam, Netherlands.


The Zimbabwe Bush Pump: Mechanics of a Fluid Technology / Logos. 2017. № 2 (117). P. 171-232
annotation:  This paper investigates frontiers of extension of agency and qualities of “appropriate technology” with an example of Bush Pump “B” type. This pump turns out to be such a technology due to something that the authors call the “fluidity” of the pump (of its boundaries, or of its working order, and of its maker). They find that in travelling to intractable places, an object that is not too rigorously bounded, that doesn’t impose itself but tries to serve, that is adaptable, flexible and responsive — in short, a fluid object — may well prove to be stronger than one which is firm. By analyzing the ways in which this device shapes new configurations in the Zimbabwean socio-technical landscape, the authors join the current move in science and technology studies to transform what it means to be an actor. They argue that technologies don not necessarily have to hold themselves as actor-networks to act. The fluidity metaphor allows us to show that there are technologies that do not need any network to spread themselves. Such technologies can extend themselves without a technological general, forming alliances with heterogeneous forces to spread his or her creatures, like Pasteur depicted by Bruno Latour. Thus, the authors approve the notion of symmetry in the actor-network theory, but refuse to universalize the actor-network metaphor throughout the whole world of techno-science. And by mobilizing the term “love” for articulating our relation to the Bush Pump, they try to contribute to shaping novel ways of “doing” normativity.
Keywords:  appropriate technology; normativity
Embodied Action, Enacted Bodies. The Example of Hypoglycaemia / Logos. 2017. № 2 (117). P. 233-262
annotation:  The authors of the paper reinvent the notion of the body. The authors propose a shift from substantial conceptions of the body to processual conceptions, i.e. to a body we do. Through what practices are bodies enacted? The article refers to hypoglycemia, low blood sugar level. In the case of a diabetic, knowledge of hypoglycemia is not restricted to a condition of blood, as he or she immersed in practices by which hypoglycemia is done: a diabetic a) registers hypoglycemia through self-awareness; b) counters it by taking carbohydrates; c) avoids it by maintaining a target sugar level; d) producesit if the recommended target sugar level turns out too low (to counter hyperglycemia). These practices take place in the patient’s body as well as outside of it. Hypoglycemia includes not only self-awareness, but also carb charts, a glucometer, dextrose and witnesses who notice hypoglycemia first. The body-we-do has semi-permeable boundaries, as some processes are incorporated, others excorporated. A body is a whole, but not a coherent whole, rather a range of tensions between processes: interests of different organs (low sugar is healthy, but one risks hypoglycemia, which causes brain damage); sugar level regulation and unpredictable jumps; the wish to live a full life. The aim of the body-we-do is to find a balance between tensions. The aim of medicine is to see a patient not as a passive but as an active body made through numerous practices. Zen medical invasion will cease to be considered an invasion into bodily tissues, intervening in one parameter, and will become clearly what it always was — an intervention into human life, not always yielding improvement.
Keywords:  ethnography; modern medicine; body; body practices; diabetes; hypoglycaemia; self-awareness
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