Society for Linguistic Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Tuuli Turja (Tampere University)
In the wake of the era of the robotization of health care, we still know very little about how new robotic technologies change the way we understand, experience and conceptualize the human body. In this study we adopt micro analysis of video-recorded interactions to explore how the bodies are being produced in an experimental setting where nurses wear exoskeletons – robotic vests that give the bodies more power for lifting – to move a patient with a movement disability between her wheelchair and her bed. Starting from an intercorporeal perspective, we focus on how the embodied agency is distributed and experienced in moments where the nurses touch and move the patient’s body in different ways. The data covers video-recordings of the experiment in three different settings (a–c), surveys filled by the nurses and interviews with the patient after the experiment: (a) Two students move the patient with a traditional moving method; (b) Two students move the patient with one student adopting the traditional moving method, and the other the exoskeleton; (c) Both students wear an exoskeleton to move the patient. The study aims to uncover how the participants produce and experience their bodies in these different settings, focusing on moments where the bodies of the nurses and the patient, together with the exoskeletons intertwine in collaborative action – moving the patient’s body.