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Hope Rites: An Ethnographic Study of Mechanical Help-Heart Implantation Treatment
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Health and Society. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9234-9178
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Hoppets riter : En etnografisk studie av behandling med mekaniskt hjälphjärta (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is about cultural aspects of advanced medical technology for treating end-stage heart failure. New medical technologies like mechanical help-hearts save lives, but they also bring new uncertainties, risks, and challenges. Based on nine months of ethnographic field work in a Swedish academic hospital, this study examines the ways of managing uncertainties of end-stage heart failure and of high-tech treatment, and also how these practices tie into the shared understandings of life-threatening chronic illness, the body, and medical technology’s role.

This study draws on anthropological discussions of healing rituals as an analytical tool to make sense of social and cultural dimensions of mechanical help-heart implantation treatment. Viewed as a ritual, this treatment creates and maintains hope as a virtue through which possibilities of new medical technology are justified as culturally approved ways of handling the uncertainties of severe heart failure and mechanical help-heart treatment. Ultimately, even when treatment is regarded as successful, the patients may be saved but are never really ‘cured’ and remain, thus, permanently tied to the world of medicine. This new mode of existence is characterized by paradoxical permanent transit between uncertainty and hope.

Abstract [sv]

Avhandlingen fokuserar på de kulturella aspekterna av den medicinska teknologin som används vid behandling av svår hjärtsvikt. Samtidigt som ny medicinsk teknologi som mekaniska hjälphjärtan räddar liv för den även med sig ovisshet och nya utmaningar som ofta är svåra att förutse. Baserat på nio månaders etnografiskt fältarbete vid ett universitetssjukhus i Sverige undersöks hur denna ovisshet och dessa utmaningar hanteras av medicinskt personal och patienter. I avhandlingen behandlas också sambanden mellan medicinska praktiker och de lokalt delade uppfattningarna om livshotande kroniska sjukdomar, den mänskliga kroppen och teknologins roll.

Utifrån diskussioner inom antropologin om ’helande ritualer’ analyseras i avhandlingen de sociala och kulturella aspekterna av behandling med mekaniskt hjälphjärta. Studien visar att genom de rituella aspekterna av denna behandling, genereras och upprätthålls hoppet som en dygd. Den nya medicinska teknologins möjligheter rättfärdigas på så sätt som ett kulturellt accepterat sätt att hantera ovissheten vid svår hjärtsvikt och behandling med mekaniskt hjälphjärta. Även vid lyckade behandlingar, då patienternas liv räddas, blir de trots allt inte riktigt ’botade’ utan förblir bundna till den medicinska världen. Detta nya levnadssätt karakteriseras av en paradoxal och livslång balansgång mellan ovisshet och hopp.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2012. , 433 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 550Linköping Dissertations on Health and Society, ISSN 1651-1646 ; 21
Keyword [en]
Medical technology, uncertainty, ritual, emotions, ethnography, liminality, end-stage heart failure, mechanical help-heart, progress, hope.
Keyword [sv]
Medicinsk teknologi, ovisshet, ritual, emotioner, etnografi, liminalitet, akut svår hjärtsvikt, mekaniskt hjälphjärta, framsteg, hopp.
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-76158ISBN: 978-91-7519-953-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-76158DiVA: diva2:512788
Public defence
2012-03-30, Nils Holgersalen, House 462, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-03-29 Created: 2012-03-29 Last updated: 2016-08-24Bibliographically approved

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Hope Rites: An Ethnographic Study of Mechanical Help-Heart Implantation Treatment(6376 kB)3095 downloads
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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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