29 January 2013

Article: "Living by Numbers"

The dynamic interplay of asymptomatic conditions and low cost measurement technologies in the cases of two women in the Danish provinces


Article by Bjarke Oxlund, Post Doc. at the Department of Anthropology.

Soumen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society 37(3) 2012, page 42-56.

In recent years medical anthropologists have been busy trying to keep up with the many new developments and changes that are taking place in the fields of medicine and health care.

In spite of new scientific discoveries being made in the fields of DNA-research and biotechnology, however, some of the most significant changes that have taken place in the everyday lives of senior Danes are fairly mundane — namely the ones related to the advent of preventive health.

Preventive health practices
Where in the past health care was primarily thought of in terms of therapeutic treatment of health failures, the emergence of preventive health has brought about a situation where health risks are increasingly being medicated and where ‘good health’ in the form of physical exercise and healthy diets has become a moral imperative.

Based on insights from ongoing ethnographic fieldwork among older adults in a provincial area in Denmark, this article traces how numerical expressions of the body have become pivotal for the everyday practices of older adults and the work they perform on themselves.

You can read the article by ordering the entire journal (external site).