Refracting through Technologies: Bodies, Medical Technologies and Norms, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Refracting through Technologies

Bodies, Medical Technologies and Norms, 1st Edition

By Ericka Johnson


138 pages

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Paperback: 9781138564190
pub: 2019-10-29
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This book explores the ‘material-discursive entanglement’ of how we both make the world with our words and how the materiality of the world forces us to put words on it. Beginning with the conundrum of how the things that make up our world are both shaped by and shape the ways in which we talk about, engage with and think about them, the author accepts the entanglement and then works backwards, using the metaphor of refraction to help articulate the structures, values and norms that discursively shape our world and our selves in it. Through a series of empirical examples taken from work on medical technologies and the body, Refracting through Technologies shows how researchers and designers can use material things – technologies – to refract discourses and articulate the concerns and voices producing them. Refraction as a metaphor is thus revealed to be an important concept, enabling scholars to apply analytical work to political concerns about the technological world. As such, it will appeal to scholars of sociology, science and technology studies, philosophy and design with interests in technoscience, feminist thought and social theory.

Table of Contents


1. Refracting Spectrums of Siscourse

2. Viagra in Sweden

3. HPV Vaccines

4. Public Toilets and Ageing Prostates

5. The E-pelvis Simulator and Knowledge of the Body

6. Manipulating the Discursive and the Material

7. Conclusion

About the Author

Ericka Johnson is Professor of Gender and Society at Linköping University, Sweden. She is the author of Gendering Drugs: Feminist Studies of Pharmaceuticals and Dreaming of a Mail-Order Husband: Russian-American Internet Romance; the co-author of Glocal Pharma: International Brands and the Imagination of Local Masculinity; and the co-editor of Technology and Medical Practice: Blood, Guts and Machines.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Gender and Society

The social sciences continue to be transformed and enriched by analysis which takes gender, and the ways in which gender and society interact, to be of vital, defining importance. This series is new and broadly based, and will publish high-level contributions from across the disciplines.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General