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SKAPE: Research


Skape Meeting : Ariel Ducey (University of Calgary) on Reckoning with Transvaginal Mesh: Clinical Labour and Affect Economies

Skape Meeting : Ariel Ducey (University of Calgary) on Reckoning with Transvaginal Mesh: Clinical Labour and Affect Economies
Hosted by: Skape # UoE
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Date and Time
25th Apr 2018 12:00 - 25th Apr 2018 13:00
Meeting Room 2.15, Chrystal Macmillan Building


In this talk, Ariel Ducey will bring together literatures on clinical labour and affect economies to examine the forms of emotional and moral response by surgeons and patients to the transvaginal mesh debacle. She will discuss how the configuration of medical knowledge, markets, and clinical practices in the case of transvaginal mesh affected the possibilities for moral and emotional reckoning with the harm transvaginal mesh caused. Important among the forms of response has been litigation – in the United Sates, lawsuits against manufacturers of transvaginal mesh kits now constitute the largest mass tort action ever – as a site for the production of reckoning, and the production of another layer of capital and value.

The talk is based on several years of qualitative research, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the University of Calgary, for which Ariel and her collaborators in health services research, surgery, and bioethics have interviewed 57 stakeholders in medical device adoption in Canada and 18 Canadian pelvic floor surgeons, observed surgical consultations with patients at a pelvic floor disorders clinic, and observed nine major medical meetings related to pelvic floor surgery in the UK, Europe, and North America. 


Ariel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, Canada, and completed her PhD at the City University of New York Graduate Centre in 2004. She will be a Nominated Fellow at IASH, University of Edinburgh, from 1 March – 31 May, 2018.  Her research centers on issues of responsibility, ethicality, care, and emotions in the institutions and practices of health care and medicine.  Her book, Never Good Enough: Health Care Workers and the False Promise of Job Training (Cornell 2009), examined the creation and justification of a billion dollar industry for training, upgrading, and multiskilling unionized, frontline health care workers in the midst of widespread restructuring of the health care sector. She published two book chapters on affective labour and affect economies in this training industry, in highly-cited collections on affect (The Affective Turn, Clough and Halley, eds., Duke University Press, 2007) and intimate labour (Intimate Labors, Boris and Parreñas, eds., Stanford 2010).  More recently, she has worked for several years with an interdisciplinary research group based out of the University of Toronto examining the processes around medical device adoption, regulation, and surveillance in Canada. Her work on pelvic floor surgery is beginning to appear, starting with a co-authored paper in the Sociology of Health and Illness, “Formats of Responsibility: Elective Surgery in the Era of Evidence-Based Medicine.”