The 2022-2023 Bioethics Public Seminar Series continues this month with a webinar from Center Assistant Professor Megh Marathe, PhD, on “Expedient Classification: Diagnosis in Lived Experience and Medical Practice.” This virtual event is free to attend and open to all individuals. This event will be available as a live broadcast only.
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
1:30-2:30 PM EDT (UTC−04:00)
Zoom webinar registration: bit.ly/bioethics-marathe
This talk examines how doctors and patients distinguish between normal and pathological events through the case of epilepsy. Epilepsy is a chronic illness and disability characterized by recurrent and unpredictable seizures. Seizures are transient events during which people lose control over parts of body-mind function. The talk shows that the diagnostic boundary between seizure and non-seizure events is fluid, dynamic, and porous in lived experience and medical practice. Calling an event a seizure has consequences well beyond treatment, also affecting a patient’s financial stability, social participation, and life aspirations. Hence, doctors and patients take an expedient approach to classifying seizures, informally modifying the very definition of seizure to postpone or avoid severe consequences. Doing so enables doctors and patients to bend rigid classification schemes to suit the complex realities of people’s lives. This work advances scholarship on classification and expertise in information studies, science and technology studies, and disability studies.
Megh Marathe is an assistant professor in the Center for Bioethics and Social Justice in the College of Human Medicine and the Department of Media and Information in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University. Marathe’s research seeks to foster inclusion in expert practices and technologies by centering the perspectives of marginalized people. They do this by studying the experiences and practices of multiple stakeholders – doctors and patients, citizens and civic officials – that is, laypeople and professionals, people who are marginalized as well as those in powerful positions, to generate critical theory and practical interventions for inclusive practice and technology design. Marathe adopts an ethnographic approach that is inflected by their computer science training and software industry experience.
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