May 2021

May, we care?

Introduction,  Blogpost Rikke, Automated Transcription, Student Surveillance project


In this time of returning to work and opening up for cultural events, museums, restaurants, we in the lab are reflecting on different bodies and abilities through the lens of a politics of care. 
Not all of us have the ability to simply return or not want to return to "normality", but carry other wants and dreams of having structures of care embedded in the labour market. 

The dominant Western capitalist paradigm conflates health with functionality. The medical system is aimed at diagnosing dysfunctions that remove us from the labour market and treatment of illness is aimed at restoring our ability to work. This is also true of and particularly alienating in mainstream treatment of psychoemotional states.

The concept of “healthy” equals the norm and what is considered as “good”, as opposed to sick, which is seen as unusual and “bad”. This is reflected in the use of the word “invalid” for people who are have disabilities. However this is not reflecting reality.

We are all constantly moving through different states of health, and our ressources and capabilities are dynamic and contextual. A societal structure co-construct what in the end is seen as a disability. 

Just because we are in a condition where we don’t easily fit in to the capitalist system of work doesn’t make us or our state of health “bad”.

There is often a terror and denial of illness, whether in ourselves or in others, a lack of acceptance that we don’t all fit the same standard, that we can’t always perform the way the system would like us to.

These tendencies are reflected in our day to day interactions. People push one another to work harder, judge each other for whether or not they appear to “contribute to society” and how. Often people are pushed to do more for their recovery when they are already doing their best, which can contribute to the feeling of not being good enough.

We invite you all to utilise this time of returning to spark conversations on politics of care in your workspace, organisation, or other group, and organize ways of incorporating care.


Reflections on attitudes and responses towards illness from our lab community

Work Ethic. At least nominally, most of us would deny the capitalist logic that equates our status and worth with our job and productivity. However, in practice this work ethic is often so deeply internalised that it continues in our work and movements.

There can be a tendency to heroise people who do a lot, people who always go over their limits, and conversely to value people less when they appear to do less, or when they take more time for self-care. As well as the simple admiration of “hard work”, different tasks and activities are also valued differently. This of course depends on the context and the experiences and attitudes of the people within that context, but people often receive more recognition and praise for direct action than doing reproductive work like tidying up or doing the dishes or emotional labour.

It is very important to take the time to reflect on what we value, as groups and as individuals, and why. When left unchallenged, these subconscious judgements can enforce the condition of only feeling good about ourselves and accepted by others when we “work hard”, thus impairing our ability to respect the limits and boundaries of ourselves and those around us. Because some tasks receive very little recognition, some people who take these tasks on more may end up feeling a low sense of worth despite actually doing a lot. A culture is created based on a hierarchy of who (appears to) work the hardest, and dependent on denying our needs.

Many people may be unable to keep up with such high levels of activity, may need to spend more of their time and energy on self-care, or may have difficulty with the forms of activity that are more highly valued in the movement. This dynamic may exclude people from taking part in the movement and encourages burn-out and illness in others.

Reflection on work ethic might lead to appreciation of different forms of activities and an acceptance that we all have our own rhythms and energy levels and are not machines

Care as a “private” issue.  When someone is in need of care, this tends to be seen as a “private” issue – to be taken care of by family or close friends. In many cases that ends up being a romantic partner. If the care work and/or treatment is beyond their capacity, usually the only option is to seek help from health professionals, for those who have the privilege to be able to do so.

Lack of care structures often forces people to depend on the system, and in many cases even to have to leave the groups they're a part of. Others may be put off from joining in the first case, because they have to work to insure themselves in case of sickness.

How can we make it more normal that we help each other, so that it is easier for people to express their needs and ask for help when they need it? 

Mutual care for one another is a great strength which we need to reclaim from the system. Learning to look out for one another and not have to be ashamed of our needs can be very empowering.

We hope you will continue the reflections!



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Stay safe out there!



Co-heads of Lab: Marisa Cohn & Rachel Douglas-Jones

Lab Assistant: Luuk Blum

Lab Manager: Merethe Riggelsen Gjørding


Student Surveillance Project

With the software update on LearnIT, predictive algorithms on student drop-out got activate behind our backs. Although deactivated as management realized, student surveillance in university software is getting more and more prevalent. Attempting to give space to reflect and act on this development, ETHOS lab is facilitating a collective writing projects with ITU students grabbling with the naturalization of risk algorithms and whom and what they serve. We will keep you posted on the course of this collaboration and of our future disseminations.


Using Automated Transcription Software in a reflective manner?

The process of transcribing your materiel can be tedious and daunting, so no wonder researchers and students around the world are thinking about ways to make this process more smoothly and less time consuming. We have had several requests from students asking about the possibilities of using Automated Transcription Software (ATS). Therefore, we are currently working on a workshop where will dig deep into the consequences and possibilities of ATS through collective knowledge build-up and creation of guidelines.



Understanding more sides to individual learning

By Rikke Haslund Jønsson

As a university student, you are told that you are responsible for your learning. This is both my personal experience and a collective experience amongst my friends and fellow students.

There are parts of the learning experience in universities that are communal and concern how to create a space for collective learning, such as lectures or group work. Besides these, there are solo activities: reading for class, desk research, and often the entire exam process. I however wonder how many of us have ever learned how to learn, and know what works best for us as individuals. Given that the university structure highly relies on individual responsibility for learning, it is crucial to ask if the students actually know how to approach this in a way that benefits them the most, and use their time and energy most efficiently?



Ph.D. Fellowships & Postdocs

Postdoc for the Moving Data, Moving People project. A full-time postdoc position in the Technologies in Practice research group, Business IT Department is open for appointment from November 1st 2021, or soon thereafter. The position is for 30 months. 
Application deadline: August 1st, 2021 

PhD position in Digital Criminology. Undertake research as part of the project “The changing relationships between digital technologies, DNA and evidence” (Digital DNA). The candidate will work closely together with project leader Mareile Kaufmann at the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law.

PhD position in Digital Childhoods. Instead of exploring digital childhoods as a natural matter of fact, a critical social science approach is used to show how parents and children experience, discuss and create digital lives on a daily basis. We now seek a qualified candidate who will visit Norwegian families and homes to ethnographically examine the conditions of digital childhoods.
Application deadline: June 13th, 2021

STS / Legal postdoc
This project seeks to map the impact of European Union law obligations on national administrative organisation designs across a wide variety of sectors. In order to grasp this impact, it will rely Actor-Network Theory (ANT). Although well-known across a variety of social sciences (science and technology studies [STS], sociology, anthropology), this method is new in the field of (EU) legal scholarship.
Application deadline: May 31st, 2021

Disassembling Carbonscapes. The PhD position is part of the research project "Disassembling the power of high-carbon imaginaries" funded by the Swedish Research Council. The overall purpose of this project – led by Associate Professor Magdalena Kuchler – is to critically examine and better understand how powerful carbon-intensive imaginaries can be disempowered to accelerate low-carbon transition.
Application deadline: June 9th, 2021 


CRYPTIC COMMONS: Transdisciplinary Probes of the Ideal and Real World in Actual Cyber-Physical Systems. Cryptographers often refer to notions of the ideal world and the real world in the development and implementation of cryptographic primitives and protocols. Hosted by Aalborg University / Online on May 20-21st, 2021 (both days in afternoon + evening hours). For more information, or for registration.

LAB opening hours 

We will continue to hold virtual and physical opening hours between 10:00 and 14:00 on Tuesday and Thursday. To find us on zoom, for all your Lab related questions; meeting ID 687 7876 9045 and pass code 585338.