One love story and two epidemics: The social life of gloves Event as iCalendar

(Development Studies, School of Social Sciences)

29 September 2017

2 - 3pm

Venue: Pat Hanan Room, CLL Building (207-501)

Dr Tineke Water | Auckland University of Technology

Gloves are possibly the most ‘taken for granted’ and yet most used health technology in developed countries on a daily basis. Although gloves have colonised health care environments in developed contexts, this is not the experience of health care workers in developing contexts. The use and lack of gloves in developing contexts highlight structural violence, dilemmas of scarce resource management, issues of risk and in some cases the death of health care workers and patients in a humanitarian response. This seminar presents the findings of a case study using an ethnographic approach, which explored how gloves have contributed implicitly and explicitly to the construction of ‘risky bodies’ and a certain ‘politics of life’. Semi-structured interviews with humanitarian health care workers and using three diagnostic events (a love story and the AIDS/ebola epidemics), show how changing understandings of infectious diseases and infection control has mediated the use of gloves both in protecting patients and health professionals, contributing to guidelines and professional identities that regulate ‘safe’ and ‘risky’ bodies. Gloves implicitly and explicitly do contribute to a politics of life for health care workers and humanitarian response. This presentation is a story of the social life of gloves, vis-à-vis one love story and two epidemics.

Dr Tineke Water is a Senior Lecturer at AUT University in the School of Clinical Science, with a clinical background in child health. Her current research is focused on participatory research with children, health care ethics and humanitarian response. She works as a Nursing Research Fellow at Starship Children’s Service and sits on the Superu New Zealand Families Commission Ethics Committee. Her interest in Development Studies is through her work with international NGOs (child/maternal health) and Cambodian Universities related to health professional education and evidence based practice.


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