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Materialising suffering, medical help and humanitarianism on Swedish Médecins sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders’ web site.
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts.
2014 (English)In: Conference ”New Materialist Methodologies. Gender, Politics, the Digital”, 25th-26-th september 2014, Barcelona, 2014Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The paper discusses the dynamics of materialisation with the example of how the all-pervading materiality of suffering, death and medical help is portrayed – i.e. materialised – in the Swedish web site of Medecins sans Frontiers /Doctors without Borders, Läkare utan Gränser. The site is presenting the organisation’s work as heavily anchored in material circumstances on many levels. There are the brutish forces of natural catastrophes and human-induced conflicts, wars, extreme poverty, malnourishment, epidemics, all shattering human lives, causing suffering and foreboding death. These conditions together with the climate, distances and myriads of other material circumstances limit also the MsF teams’ labour and the help that is possible to give – the help that is vital and desperately needed, though always too scarce. The depicted efforts to bring relief and assistance may also be regarded as the constant process of materialisation of the ideology of humanitarianism. There is the materiality of the gendered human body, of those who need help and those who provide it. The gendered, embodied humans are the subjects who suffer and make sense of suffering; they are also the objects of treatments that the teams (i.e. also gendered, embodied humans) may offer. The MsF-site is trying to portrait - materialise once more through digital means - the all-pervading materiality of suffering and humanitarian, medical help, using texts and images, reports, blogs, digital newsletters and journals and also linking to other web-sides on Facebook and Instagram, to radio and TV programs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
social media, Doctorrs without Norders, materiality, suffering, humanitarianism
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-107909OAI: diva2:849652
Conference ”New Materialist Methodologies. Gender, Politics, the Digital”, 25th-26-th september 2014, Barcelona
What is the use of internationalization in the medical field?
Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation
Available from: 2015-08-30 Created: 2015-08-30 Last updated: 2015-08-30

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Wolanik Boström, Katarzyna
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