Framing Technology and Care in Asian Contexts
Date : 18 May 2017 - 19 May 2017
Venue : Asia Research Institute
ARI Seminar Room, AS8 Level 4
AS8, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent Road, Singapore 119260
Download Programme and Abstracts

This workshop aims to examine the challenges, delights, and rewards of studying the relationship between technology and care – specifically medical and health-related care – in Asia. This topic is at home in multiple fields, which each have their own epistemological traditions and methodologies. The workshop is intended as a space in which scholars from multiple disciplines can engage with each other’s approaches, and explore what these various approaches can tell us about the relationship between technology and care.

Caring has been understood as a multi-layered phenomenon: a human trait, a moral imperative, an affect, an interpersonal interaction and an intervention (Morse et al. 1992; cited in Mol 2008). It is connected to the physical act of looking after someone or some thing, and the affective work of emotional connecting and ethical relating.

Technology has, in some arguments, been positioned as an ‘other’ to care – care associated with love and affection versus cold, efficient and rational technology; however, scholarship in several disciplines now typically examines technologies and care as intertwined. The fields of ethics, anthropology, feminist studies, STS and geography (among others) have studied the nature of care as a practice that involves many actors. For medical care, these may include professionals of various kinds, family members, domestic workers, medicines, food, as well as multiple types of devices and machines, socio-technical infrastructures, discourses and policies.

We intend to foster a multi-disciplinary dialogue by having participants reflect on, and share, the questions, methods and genres of writing through which their (inter)discipline approaches the relationship between technology and care. This will allow us, as a collective, to explore the connections, gaps, overlaps, and resonances between various approaches.

We invite short and punchy papers that discuss approaches to researching technology and care in Asian settings. These papers may speak to work that has been done or is in progress, or may foreshadow future work. Participants are asked to address one or more of the following overlapping areas of inquiry:

Framing/questions: How does your field approach the study of technology and care? What theoretical frameworks do you draw from to ask questions about technology and care in Asia? Should certain frameworks be recommended or avoided? What are the strengths or limits of different approaches? How do they help us to understand what counts as care, and how technology is made a part of this, or made ‘other’ to this? What questions do you ask or avoid asking?

Crafting/methodology: What methods are used to address the questions about technology and care that you ask? How are your research questions influenced by the methods that you use? How do you position yourself and other actors in your study of care and technology? How does access to different sites/settings influence your research? What counts as an object of study? How do your methods unfold or change in the process of doing research? What are negotiations or tensions that you have encountered or are preparing to grapple with in the future?

Sharing/writing: How is scholarship on technology and care in your field written and presented inside academia and/or to the public? What styles and genres are preferred and why? What are the ethics and politics of writing? What types of interdisciplinary collaborations are possible?


Participation in the closed-door workshop is limited and with pre-registration.
If you are interested in attending this workshop, please write to Sharon in advance at 


Dr Catelijne Coopmans

Asia Research Institute, and Tembusu College, National University of Singapore
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Dr Karen McNamara
Asia Research Institute, and Tembusu College, National University of Singapore
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