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(Re)creating the home: the morality of technology in the home in relation to district nursing palliative care

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Publication date2015
Original languageEnglish
Event19th International Philosophy of Nursing Society (IPONS) - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 24/08/201526/08/2015

Conference

Conference19th International Philosophy of Nursing Society (IPONS)
CountrySweden
CityStockholm
Period24/08/1526/08/15

Abstract

Previous research about the morality of care has theorised how the materiality of the home, nursing care and medical technology (such as intravenous infusions) interact with one another. However, this research has not considered the morality of how these concepts intersect with patients’ and carers’
subjectivities from either an empirical or theoretical perspective. This paper examines these intersections using Butlerian and Deleuzian moral philosophy to explore empirical data about palliative and supportive district nursing care (home care).
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 26 patients and 13 carers about their palliative and supportive district nursing care.

Three key themes about the home arose in the data: the essential nature of the home in maintaining patients’ and carers’ sense of self, use of technology to maintain patients at home, and a belief that district nursing care did not
affect the home.

The theoretical work of Joan Liaschenko suggests that the introduction of medical
technology leads to the home (something she implicitly conceptualises as a fixed pre-existing concept) becoming more hospital like, which she considers to be a morally problematic loss. However, Butler’s work on performativity is used to critique this by analysing how the empirical data suggests that ‘the home’ can be thought of as always and already being in a constant process of (re)creation reliant on a wide range of technologies (such as heating, lighting etc) and care, all of which can be thought of as being discursive; as such the home cannot be
considered ‘lost’. With this in mind empirical data is further analysed using the Deleuzian concept of ‘becoming-other’ to explore themorality of and possibilities for performative (re)creations of the home and subjectivities.

The paper concludes that the home is (re)created via an interplay of material and
discursive practices that impinge on and are (re)created through patients’ and carers’ subjectivities, the morality of this is reliant on the distribution of power over how subjectivities and the home are dialectically (re)created; not the use of technology and district nursing care in and of itself.