Sleep as potentiality – a critical examination of sleep as a lived and medical phenomenon

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Sleep as potentiality – a critical examination of sleep as a lived and medical phenomenon

Trine Schifter Larsen, Department of Clinical Research Copenhagen University Hospital, Hvidovre, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Copenhagen University hospital, Hvidovre, Department of People and Technology, Roskilde University.

Keywords: sleep; patient-engagement; health potentiality; aging; relational ontology

In both research and practice, sleep is said to have subjective significance. But it’s unclear how subjective significance can be understood and accessed. Therefore, I have investigated how to conceptualize the subjective significance of sleep. I do so for two reasons; to contribute with new knowledge about sleep that can be used to support older people discharged after hospitalization responsible for their own rehabilitation, and to critically examine the way sleep becomes an institutional health potential in patient pathways. Through ethnographical methods and posthuman and postfeminist methodology, I show how subjective significance comes into being as a relational and biographical process. This process is also affected by medical and political logic that links sleep and behavioural psychology to expectations for engagement and participation in healthcare and in society. Sleep which previously has been understood as private and uncontrollable, emerges as the subject of strategic health interventions and behavioural assessments.
We know a lot about the body, about its internal biological complexities and how these are affected. As a promise of biomedicine, I argue that this knowledge is applied in health pedagogical practices in the pursuit of controlling complex biological interactions in the expectation that this will enable us to live long, good, and healthy lives. However, the body is not only biological but also social and biographical. I show how biological, socio-material, and biographical forces intra-act (Barad 2007) and shape the body by which we engage with our surroundings and organize our daily lives. This ongoing embodied intra-active movement creates sleep-practice as a personal relatedness to the world that makes sleep significant and transformative in rehabilitation in different and complex ways.
I argue against this potentiality-practice that connects sleep, biomedicine, and behavioural psychology to the promise of good health outcomes and suggest a relational sleep-methodology to understand how sleep becomes transformative in rehabilitation.
StatusAccepteret/In press - 2023
Begivenhed8th international In Sickness & In Health Conference: Diagnosis • destruction • voice • assemblage - Auckland, New Zealand
Varighed: 13 feb. 202415 feb. 2024
Konferencens nummer: 8


Konference8th international In Sickness & In Health Conference
Land/OmrådeNew Zealand
AndetThe themes for ISIH 2024 are diagnosis • destruction • voice • assemblage.<br/><br/>Firstly, these reflect the four main research interests of our keynote speakers. But they also represent four powerful motifs of contemporary healthcare.<br/><br/>They speak to the ways we consume healthcare and the people who use it. They shape the way healthcare technologies develop, and they drive the motives of governments, health professionals, service users, their families, and communities. And they shape the spaces taken up by healthcare in society and the networks of power at play.<br/><br/>All of these things are of interest to the In Sickness and In Health community.<br/><br/>So if your work engages with critical health questions in any of the following areas, you will find many like-minded practitioners, scholars, and students at the ISIH 2024 conference:<br/><br/>• Technologies and the body<br/>• Dominance and class, race, gender, sexuality, or other structured categories of difference<br/>• Points of resistance<br/>• Critical aspects of health professional practice<br/>• Postcolonial futures<br/>• Ethics in health care in the 21st century<br/>• Post-human conceptions of health and disease<br/>• The Global South and inequities of healthcare access<br/>• Planetary and environmental justice, health, and equity<br/>• Indigenous epistemologies<br/>• The governance of health priorities<br/>• Social justice<br/>• The arts, humanities, and health<br/>• Digital disruption and post-professional futures for healthcare<br/>• Citizenship and migration<br/>• The aesthetics of care<br/>• Discourses of healthcare<br/>• Democratisation of health care, research, and systems<br/>• Intensification of governmentality and its processes<br/>• Neoliberalism, neo-conservatism, and social injustice<br/>• Spaces and places of health production<br/>• Ideologies of risk

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