When digital health meets digital capitalism, how many common goods are at stake?

Talk by assistant Professor Tamar Sharon, Maastricht University.

Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies, University of Copenhagen announces the following seminar:

In recent years, all major consumer technology corporations have moved in to the domain of healthresearch. This “Googlization of health research” (GHR), emerging at the intersection of digital healthand digital capitalism, begs the question of how the common good will be served in this type of research. As many scholars in the field of critical data and science and technology studies contend, such phenomena must be situated within the political economy of surveillance capitalism in order to foreground the question of public interest and the common good. Here, trends like GHR are framed in terms of a double, incommensurable logic, where private gain and economic value are pitted against public good and societal value. While helpful for highlighting the exploitative potential inherent in digital capitalism, this framing is limiting, by failing to account for the presence of other evaluative regimes and conceptions of the common good that may be at work. In this talk, I use the analytical framework of modes of justification developed by Boltanski and Thévenot (2006) to identify aplurality of evaluative regimes and common goods in GHR. Not just the “civic” (doing good for society) and “market” (enhancing wealth creation) orders of worth, but also an “industrial” (increasing efficiency), a “project” (innovation and experimentation), a “domestic” (trust and respect), and what I call a “vitalist” (proliferating life) order. Drawing on research including promotional material of GHRinitiatives and preliminary interviews with participants in GHR projects, I ask what moral orientations guide different actors. I contend that identifying this ethical pluralism is necessary to avoid theory- practice discrepancies and to develop viable governance solutions.

Tamar Sharon is assistant professor in the philosophy department and in the Science, Technology and Society (STS) research group at Maastricht University, The Netherlands.

June 14, 2018, at 14:00-15:30, in room 10.0.11 at CSS, Øster Farimagsgade 5A, building 10

Everybody is welcome!