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Message posted on 21/01/2021

Call for Abstracts | SSA | 'Social In/Justice Through Data-Driven Healthcare Technologies'

Call for Papers 'Social In/Justice Through Data-Driven Healthcare Technologies' CONGRESS OF THE SWISS SOCIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION: SOCIAL JUSTICE IN TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY Geneva, June 28-30 2021 Deadline 5 February 2021

Healthcare technologies relying on continuous data collection and algorithmic evaluation are gaining importance and have been pushed further by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in 2020. These digital tools are often promoted as inclusive and empowering for their users. Yet, while creating more social justice for some, they might produce other blind spots of social injustice for others. The present session invites early career scholars to present their empirical findings regarding the development and/or use of healthcare technologies (such as mobile health apps, telemedical tools, monitoring technologies, algorithmic treatments, etc.) within different matrices of power. Our aim is to gather understandings of the roles played by various actors within different networks of specific data-driven healthcare technologies.

This paper session especially seeks to address the inclusionary and exclusionary effects of data-driven healthcare technologies. It questions to what extent such technologies blur traditional boundaries of healthcare and uncertainty in medical decision-making. Moreover, this session aims at disentangling whether related activities remain geographically and temporally bound. We, therefore, invite papers that address one or several of the following questions:

  • How are algorithms interfering with the expertise of healthcare professionals and patients? Where and when does the so promoted anytime and anywhere healthcare take place?
  • How do data-driven healthcare technologies reconfigure health inequalities?
  • Are privacy concerns a privilege of the healthy?
  • To which extent do algorithmic technologies allow for more precise and fair medical decisions?
  • How do people adapt to or resist healthcare technologies?
  • Which health-related issues do these technologies address and which are ignored?
  • Who has access to these technologies and the data they produce, and to whom is such access denied?
  • Which places are configured as ‘well-suited’ for the use of such technologies, and which ones are excluded?
  • How do these technologies reconfigure and redistribute the medical work within traditional and less traditional healthcare settings?
  • What role do concepts such as justice and rights play in the design of data-driven healthcare technologies?

We especially welcome contributions that draw on Science and Technology Studies, Feminist Technoscience Studies, Critical Data Studies, Sociology of Health and Medicine, and use an intersectional lens to question the role that gender, race, disability, migration, and class may play in such practices.

Please submit your proposal to Martina von Arx (, Laetitia Della Bianca ( and/or Melody Pralong ( Deadline for submissions (updated): February 5, 2021 Abstracts length: maximum ~500 words

Further details available on the Conference website:

Best Mélody Pralong, Laetitia Della Bianca, Martina von Arx,

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