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A cyborg ontology in health care: traversing into the liminal space between technology and person-centred practice

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posted on 21.05.2021, 15:36 authored by Jennifer L. Lapum, Suzanne Fredericks, Heather Beanlands, Elizabeth McCay, Jasna Schwind, Daria Romaniuk
Person-centred practice indubitably seems to be the antithesis of technology. The ostensible polarity of technology and person-centred practice is an easy road to travel down and in their various forms has been probably travelled for decades if not centuries. By forging ahead or enduring these dualisms, we continue to approach and recede, but never encounter the elusive and the liminal space between technology and person-centred practice. Inspired by Haraway’s work, we argue that health care practitioners who critically consider their cyborg ontology may begin the process to initiate and complicate the liminal and sought after space between technology and person-centered practice. In this paper, we draw upon Haraway’s idea that we are all materially and ontologically cyborgs. Cyborgs, the hybridity of machine and human, are part of our social reality and embedded in our everyday existence. By considering our cyborg ontology, we suggest that person-centred practice can be actualized in the contextualized, embodied and relational spaces of technology. It is not a question of espousing technology or person-centred practice. Such dualisms have been historically produced and reproduced over many decades and prevented us from recognizing our own cyborg ontology. Rather, it is salient that we take notice of our own cyborg ontology and how technological, habitual ways of being may prevent (and facilitate) us to recognize the embodied and contextualized experiences of patients. A disruption and engagement with the habitual can ensure we are not governed by technology in our logics and practices of care and can move us to a conscious and critical integration of person-centred practice in the technologized care environments. By acknowledging ourselves as cyborgs, we can re-capture and preserve our humanness as caregivers, as well as thrive as we proceed in our technological way of being. Keywords: Technology; cyborg ontology; person-centred practice; Donna Haraway; liminal space; health care