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2019 TASA Health Day: Data, Technology and Sociology in the Age of Digital Health

Friday 29th November 2019 at the University of Western Sydney (Paramatta Campus)

As digital health technologies (e.g., My Health Record) have become increasingly rooted in the practices and organisation of health and care in Australian society, understanding the role of the digital has become of growing importance to health sociology. Much of the discussion in medical and health promotion rhetoric surrounding digital health has focused on its promise and benefits for citizens, healthcare systems and society (e.g., by increasing efficiencies, precision, and ‘user engagement’ in healthcare). Sociologists have drawn attention to issues around data misuse, privacy, and new forms of surveillance (e.g., selling patient information to insurance companies). Sociological approaches to digital health technologies and innovation provide a critical contribution to thinking about the use of digital health technologies, and their impacts, across different groups and health/care contexts. Sociological inquiry offers new ways of conceptualising and understanding the experiences and patterns of using emerging technologies, and their impacts on self/body, social relationships, and practices, within the healthcare field. This symposium will draw together insights from researchers working across various disciplines to consider sociological questions, issues and challenges around digitising health, and engage in discussions about new directions for research.

Call for papers: We invite abstracts for oral presentation. Topics might include but are not limited to:

  • Novel sociological perspectives on, or methodological approaches to, digital health technologies and practices of care;
  • Exploration of digital health in relation to patient/professional relationships, the organisation and delivery of healthcare (e.g., in rural/remote settings), and opportunities and limitations of technologies to transform care practices;
  • How stakeholders engage with and/or resist digital health technologies, and impacts on identity and self-care practices;
  • How health technologies may contribute to digital temporalities, forms of embodiment and affect, and reimagined practices of care;
  • How practices of producing and sharing data and issues around surveillance, are reconfiguring experiential or expert knowledges and medical authority.

Abstracts due: Friday August 9th 2019. Please submit your abstract (with name, affiliation and paper title) of 150-200 words to Marika Franklin marika.franklin@sydney.edu.au. Speakers will be notified August 30th 2019.

Invited speakers: Speakers include Professor Alan Petersen, Professor of Sociology with the Health and Biofutures Focus Program at Monash University, and Professor Deborah Lupton, SHARP Professor at the Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW, Sydney. Professor Petersen is an internationally renowned health sociologist at the forefront of debate about the development and use of health technologies and digital media, and how they shape people’s connection with healthcare. Professor Lupton is a leading international sociologist in digital technologies and data. She will present on innovative methods for understanding the more-than-human worlds of digital health. The day will include network activities.

Travel Bursaries Award: TASA has provided funding to award two travel bursaries of $300 to postgraduate or casual/unwaged staff TASA members (who are living outside of Sydney) to attend the symposium. Recipients do not have to submit an abstract to receive an award. If you wish to apply for a travel bursary please email Anthony K J Smith anthony.smith@unsw.edu.au for more information.

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