quality, vitality and health in the 21st century

an international conference

23-25 April 2020, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Keynote Speakers

  • Aditya Bharadwaj, Anthropology and Sociology, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
  • Vicky Singleton, Department of Sociology, University of Lancaster
  • Nikolas Rose, Department of Global Health & Social Medicine, King’s College London
  • Susan Reynolds Whyte, Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen
  • Joe Dumit, Department of Anthropology, University of California Davis

Call for individual papers

While still (too) many people die from fatal diseases, more and more people all around the world are living with chronic conditions. Qualitative aspects of daily living, thus, emerge as objects of knowledge as well as sites of interventions just as “lifestyle” and “wellbeing” figure as targets of more and more health and welfare interventions. “Quality of life” has become a quality of care parameter measured by medical professionals who provide treatments for diseases that cannot be cured, only lived with. A “normal life” has become the promise in advertisements that pharmaceutical companies bring out. Preventive (mental) health interventions, “positive living” HIV projects, and patient associations, while providing advice and support families on how best to “live with” a particular condition, feed into imperatives of living well.

 With this move towards quality, vitality and health, and with chronic living as object at the intersection of knowledge production and intervention, a new politics of living continues to unfold which poses methodological, theoretical, and normative challenges in the social sciences of medicine. Medical anthropology, sociology, STS and other neighbouring disciplines have a long tradition of studying the processes of living with (chronic) disease. Countless ethnographic studies have provided insights about how all around the world people go about their everyday life endeavours while actually living with depression, dementia, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, kidney disease and more. As a result, a wide range of analytical tools and theoretical repertoires have emerged to grasp “chronic living” ranging from experience (intersubjectivity), existential meaning (leading a moral/ethical life), suffering (struggling along), belonging (relationality), doing (tinkering), performance (affordances) or as an object of disciplining (subjectivation).

We hereby invite you to join us to collectively build on these tradition(s); to engage, unpack, explore and tackle quality, vitality and health, which is to say chronic living and the politics of living that are at stake in it. We welcome contributions from scholars as well as colleagues working in other sectors, whether hospitals, patients associations or other.

Individual papers can be directed at one of the open panels listed below or submitted as an independent contribution addressing the overall questions guiding the conference. The organizing committee will cluster independent contributions as best possible according to overlapping themes.

 Paper submission should include:

- Name and affiliation

- Paper title

- Paper abstract (max. 250 words)

- An indication of which open panel the paper is directed at or that it is an independent submission speaking to the conference theme in general

* Please notice that some travel bursaries will be available. When submitting your paper, please indicate whether you intend to apply for bursary. 

Deadline: abstract submissions are due by 1 November 2019 at the latest on:

** NB Online submission and registration opens 1 October 2019 **

List of open panels

Download panel list and abstract book here 

Chronic Living is the final conference of the research project “The Vitality of Disease – Quality of Life in the Making” funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement 63927 – VITAL).