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Storytelling Through Scale-making: The Transformation of Person to Data Point through Tuberculosis Control in Shanghai, China

Title: Storytelling Through Scale-making: The Transformation of Person to Data Point through Tuberculosis Control in Shanghai, China

Speaker: Ting Ting Shum (Department of Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh)

Date: Friday, 18 November 2022

Time: 1-2:30 pm

Mode: Online

Join Zoom Meeting: https://cuhk.zoom.us/j/98295881292

Meeting ID: 982 9588 1292

Passcode: 526873

Abstract:

This talk examines the stories that are told through the language of metrics at different scales of a tuberculosis control programme. It tracks a patient’s route from the community to the municipal levels and how the concept of who or what a ‘patient’ is transforms as they and their file ascends the scale. Different stories of the same patient can be told at each level, ranging from recounting the vicissitudes of a person’s attempts to pursue treatment, to their being subsumed as part of a data point. This transformation is made possible through the practices of scale-making intrinsic in the design of the DOTS approach – the globally endorsed gold-standard for managing tuberculosis. This quality of scalability – that a project ought to function in the exact same way when inserted into any wider, bigger context – is one demanded of public health programmes today. The kinds of stories that are told at each scale depends on the kinds of data that inform those who tell them. This talk explores the nature of these data as they travel and transform up a scaled programme, and how health professionals come to conceive of and act towards these concepts as they simultaneously produce them.

Bio:

Ting Ting Shum is a Ph.D candidate with the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. Her research examines the everyday enactment of tuberculosis control in contemporary Shanghai, China, with a particular focus on the experiences of public health professionals working in the community, district and municipal levels.

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