Making HPV vaccines efficient: Cost-Effectiveness Analysis and the Economic Assemblage of Healthcare in Colombia (2017-07-11)
Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) is a strategy of calculation whose main objective is to compare for making decisions about the best, the most efficient solution (costs vs. benefits) to a particular problem. Cost-effectiveness analysis not only provides a framework to compare healthcare interventions which in practice seem incommensurable; it also performs a set of assumptions regarding the nature of healthcare and the behaviour of individuals. This article analyses the role of CEA as a device to produce value in the introduction of HPV vaccines in Colombia. In the different institutional pathways and decision-making scenarios cost-effectiveness has been the key issue that justified the inclusions and the exclusions that such technology entails. Cost-effectiveness has justified the definition of girls as the population target and the exclusion of boys from risks and benefits of this technology. Moreover, cost-effectiveness analysis has been a key instrument in the sexualising and de-sexualising of cervical cancer and HPV vaccines through the rationalisation of economic benefits.
Domesticating In Home Displays in Selected British and Norwegian Households (2017-07-07)
The paper uses qualitative data from Norway and the United Kingdom to understand the new technology of In Home Display monitors as a material object loaded with meaning and norms that may affect social practices and relations. The displays are designed to encourage householders to reduce electricity consumption. In contrast to technologies associated with ‘smart meters’, the monitors under study cannot be used for controlling or automatising various types of electricity consumption, but these devises nonetheless often form part of ‘smart grid solutions’. A large part of the research in this area has attempted to quantify the impact of displays, and qualitative research focusing on the users has also mainly sought to explain why - or why not – the introduction of displays has resulted in reduced household consumption. This paper follows a more open approach to the introduction and impact of displays by paying attention to the existing routines and social practices into which the display enters and potentially becomes integrated and domesticated. We examine to what extent ideas and norms inscribed in the display continue to have a bearing on the household moral economy and internal dynamics as the objects are negotiated and taken in use in British and Norwegian homes. Drawing on earlier studies that have sought to combine practice and domestication theory for understanding displays, the study’s novelty lies in its focus on the materiality of displays and social implications thereof, and its analysis of the social status of this object in two different contexts.
Speaking for Nature: Hobbes, Latour, and the Democratic Representation of Nonhumans (2017-05-10)
Environmental theorists have often considered how best to represent nature's interests. This essay develops an approach to the democratic representation of nonhuman nature by examining the relation between Bruno Latour’s account of representation and that of Thomas Hobbes. Both Hobbes and Latour develop a constructivist theory of representation as an ongoing process that partly constitutes what it represents. In this respect, Latour’s account complements the “constructivist turn” in recent democratic theory, and it suggests a promising avenue for representing nonhumans. However, Latour also follows Hobbes in viewing representation as a matter of unifying and replacing the represented. This aspect of Latour’s approach obscures certain key features of representative democracy in pluralist societies. The last part of the essay takes up an aspect of Hobbes’s theory neglected by Latour, the notion of “representation by fiction,” which suggests a way of representing nonhumans that offers more support for representative democracy than other approaches
Diplomacy in Action: Latourian Politics and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2017-05-10)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reviews scientific literature on climate change in an attempt to make scientific knowledge about climate change accessible to a wide audience that includes policymakers. Documents produced by the IPCC are subject to negotiations in plenary sessions, which can be frustrating for the scientists and government delegations involved, who all have stakes in getting their respective interests met. This paper draws on the work of Bruno Latour in order to formulate a so-called ‘diplomatic’ approach to knowledge assessment in global climate governance. Such an approach, we argue, helps to make climate governance more inclusive by helping to identify values of parties involved with the IPCC plenaries, and allowing those parties to recognize their mutual interests and perspectives on climate change. Drawing on observations during IPCC plenaries, this paper argues that a Latourian form of diplomacy can lead to more inclusive negotiations in climate governance
Scientific Performance Assessments Through a Gender Lens (2017-05-10)
The focus on excellence and quality assurance in the academy has spawned a significant increase in the use of bibliometric measures in performance assessments of individual researchers. This article investigates the organizational consequences of this development through a gender lens. Based on a qualitative case study of evaluation and selection practices at a Danish university, a number of potential gender biases related to the use of bibliometric performance measures are identified. By taking as default the research preferences, approaches and career paths of a succesful group of predominantly male scholars, evaluators using bibliometrics risk disadvantaging candidates diverging from the norm with implications for gender stratification. Despite these potential biases, bibliometric measures come to function as technologies supporting a managerial narrative of the gender-blind organization. They adhere to the prevailing ethos of the academic meritocracy by standardizing the criteria for organizational advancement and ensuring transparency and accountability in the selection process. While bibliometric tools in this sense may lead to the recruitment of scientists with a strong CV and track record, they may at the same time prevent many talented researchers diverging from the norm from being recognized and succeed as academics.
Knowing pandemics (2017-09-12)
How does microbial emergence become a local area of medical, political, and technological intervention in cities such as London or Frankfurt? Through a multi-sited ethnography of urban health authorities, hospitals, blue light services, and epidemiologists, this article examines the achievement of pandemic order in times of crisis. Its specific focus is on pandemic influenza preparedness. By tracing the complex spatiotemporal, technological, and administrative dimensions required for the articulation of a local pandemic threat, this paper will look at how public health experts know about the arrival of an influenza pandemic, how sociotechnical networks are assembled in the decision-making process, and how single cases of illness are drawn into spaces of pandemic potential. Integrating concepts from science and technology studies and critical global health, the article highlights how disease emergence entails hard work and administrative, technological, political, and biomedical skills in order to be made present and tangible. In consequence, it will be argued that local pandemic preparedness does not result from a linear adaption of internationally circulating standards, but from rather precarious modes and modalities of ordering.