Care Through Digital Connections: Elder Care Through ICTs in Indian Transnational Families


What happens to care for the parents when their children migrate? How are health crisis such as stroke and accidents dealt with in transnational families? And how can ICTs like mobile phones and Skype collapse, or not, the distance between family members?

 

To tackle these and other related questions I carried out ethnographic fieldwork in Kerala, India, and I followed transnational families of Kerala nurses around the world.
 

The project has been funded through the TransGlobalHealth program, which is a part of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate program of the European Commission, and the Health, Care and the Body Programme Group at the Amsterdam Institute of Sociel Science Research (AISSR), UvA.

 

For a glimpse into this research, read my blog posts:

 

You can also have a look at the video abstract of my article on frequent calling as a care practice, published in Medical Anthropology (2018).

 

 

AWARDS

2021 General Division Anthropology (GAD) Prize for Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship,  Honorable Mention, American Anthropological Association.
 

2016 Graduate Student Paper Prize, awarded by Science, Technology and Medicine special interest group of the Society of Medical Anthropology, American Anthropological Association.

Most of my research interests have been related to telemedicine, e-health, m-health, online health forums and the impact of the Internet on the relationship between patients and health practitioners.

To encourage the interest of anthropologists in telemedicine, e-health and m-health, Prof. Mark Nichter and I started a Critical Anthropology for Global Health (CAGH) Takes a Stand initiative (CAGH is a Special Interest Group of the Society of Medical Anthropologists at the American Anthropological Assocation). With Dr. Victor Braitberg, we also organized a double panel on the topic at the AAA 2013 meeting, entitled The (In)equalities of global health: E-health and Telemedicine through the Lens of Critical Medical Anthropology

E-health, m-health and telemedicine
Eating disorders in India

In North India, during my volunteer internship at a local health-oriented NGO in 2010, I met a girl who had trouble with eating. As our friendship grew, so did my wish to understand what was happening to her. After three months of fieldwork and a lot of other research, I realized that my friend's condition had little to do with the thin ideal, so commonly associated with anorexia. In my writing on this, I suggested this girl's eating problems were rather related to the way in which, in the Hindu worldview, personal identity is shaped through sharing of food and place - a process that had been interrupted for my friend by the larger forces of 'development' and 'progress' sweeping over rural India. Read more in my article What keeps Maya from eating? A case study of disordered eating from North India, published in Transcultural Psychiatry in 2018.

I wrote about my double role as a friend and a researcher in the article Of Food and Friendship: The Methods to Understanding Eating Disorders in India, published in Medische Anthropologie, 2012).

Beyond Hearing. Cultures Overlooked

As a collaborator on the project Meer dan doof (More than Deaf), led by Dr. Anja Hiddinga, I explored how technologies actively shape belonging and socialities of young deaf and heard-of-hearing people.