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Refashioning bodies, reshaping agency

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2008
<mark>Journal</mark>Science, Technology, and Human Values
Issue number3
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)345-363
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Poovey has argued that the anesthetized “unresisting body” can offer no impediment to a doctor's interpretation of its conduct. In contrast, drawing on ethnographic data of anesthetic practice, this article suggests that the technological augmentation of the body required by present-day anesthesia enhances the ability of an unconscious body to convey its needs and shape the course of the anesthetic. In analyzing the expressions of anesthesia's cyborgs, the author draws on Haraway, Latour, and Suchman to reconsider the characteristics of agency and how an unconscious body might “resist” or inform a doctor's interpretation. This attempt to explore the nature and distribution of agency within a collective is intended as a contribution to the debates surrounding medical dominance and those theorizing the role of technology in health care.