Multivalent moves in senior home care: From surveillance to care-valence

Peter A. Lutz


In this article I trace mediated effects that surface with attentions to seniors and their bodies in care. This includes new technologies for visualizing and monitoring the body. I also consider the implications of mediated body-technology attentions for care surveillance. Surveillance offers valuable analytical purchase in the study of care. Yet, care attentions are not always straightforward. These can become obstructed, negotiated and transformed with technologies for care. There are multiple empirical examples of how technically mediated attentions produce ambiguous or multivalent effects, both in the literature and my own ethnographic work. These multivalent effects, I argue, displace the notion of surveillance in care. To strengthen my argument, I draw on STS-inspired anthropological studies of care. Lastly I proffer the term “care-valence” as a heuristic compliment to the notion of care surveillance. This term, I proffer, benefits the analysis of how care attentions effect somatechnic relations.


Elderly, Technology, Home Care, Surveillance

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