Medicine and Its Objects presents
Transductive Assemblages: Making the Minimally Invasive Cut
Jenny Miao Hua, University of Chicago, Medicine and Anthropology
Discussant: Adam Baim, University of Chicago, Medicine and CHSS
Thursday, November 5th
Haskell Mezzanine 102
This article looks at robotic surgery as a historically specific assemblage (Latour, 2005) that reorients the dynamics of bodily invasion. More precisely, robotic surgery transposes the incision – a cut made in the “sacred body” of the patient (Goffman, 1961) – across different materio-semiotic registers of legitimate violence. A single robotic surgical operation is observed here in three scenes, in which the cut alludes to historical modalities of dissective and non-dissective cutting, as well as the emergent dimension of the robot’s technicity that becomes the ethnographer’s task to dissect from the scene of operation (Simondon, 1958). The purpose is to investigate how cuts are made and mediated as topological emergences. Simply put, the cut transduces an emergent topology. Transduction (Helmreich 2007, Mackenzie 2002, etc.) in this instance is taken to mean that bodies and machines in surgery not only engage in modalities of semiosis that are contingently encoded and recognized, but they dynamically constitute symbolic and pragmatic meanings which negotiate the emergence of a virtual or spectral third.
Keywords: transduction, assemblages, technicity, magic, machines, cyborgs, construction, STS
For a copy of the paper, please contact Hiroko Kumaki (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For any questions and concerns about the workshop, or if you need assistance in order to attend, please contact Hiroko Kumaki (email@example.com).
We look forward to seeing you soon!