Work In Progress Seminar November 12th with Sebastian Rojas Navarro: “A biomedical hybridization of childhood? Modes of agency and flashes of will according to an ethnographic experience in a Chilean school of Santiago”.

We are delighted announce that the second session of the Work in Progress Seminar Series (WiPs) will take place on Thursday the 12th at 4 PM in Room 3.1.1 East Wing Strand Campus.

Sebastian Rojas Navarro, one of our wonderful PhD students, will be presenting his paper titled: “A biomedical hybridization of childhood? Modes of agency and flashes of will according to an ethnographic experience in a Chilean school of Santiago“.

0c6a1f0You can find the abstract below. If you wish to attend please contact Giulia Cavaliere (, the WiP series convenor, who will send you the full paper.


During the 20th century, biomedicine has become more and more influential on its relationships with multiple areas of everyday life. The introduction of new concepts, technologies and rationalities that have come entailed to this surge has been closely examined by social scientists and different kind of experts, who have welcomed these news with expectation, and sometimes, with certain mistrust. On its relations with childhood, most of the analyses have been cautious when facing the potentialities that come along the hype of biomedicine, especially when it comes to psychiatry. This is driven mostly because they fear that biomedicine plays a normalizing role when it comes to human differences, especially in a group considered to be ‘vulnerable’, and socially located as closer to a state of nature, who might get compromised by these bio-scientific rationality. In this presentation, I will explore some of the results of my ethnographic work inside a school with children medicated with stimulant medication. By presenting excerpts of my ethnographic experience with the ‘quintos básicos’ (children aged 10 and 11), I aim to reveal mainly two core elements in order to re-locate the discussion about biomedicine and its relations with childhood. First, that biomedical knowledge and medications are a common element in children’s everyday lives, therefore there is no thing such a colonization or external invasion of their daily lives. Second, that in some cases the use of psychostimulant medication can enable new ways of agency on children consuming the medication. Using contributions from Science and Technology Studies, the anthropology of pharmaceuticals and the sociology of childhood, I propose that we are currently at a time where it is necessary to re-locate the discussion about the interaction between biomedicine, childhood and the use of medication, in an attempt to rescue the hybrid character of childhood, hence giving room to analyse the potential benefits that this interaction can entail.

A quick reminder:

The Work In Progress seminars are part of the BIOS+ Research Group at SSHM and offer the opportunity to the members of the Department to discuss drafts of their work-in-progress and receive helpful feedback from colleagues before submission or before a presentation. The aim is to bring together the researchers in the Department (and not only!) and provide a locus for sharing expertise and knowledge in an informal setting.

Junior researchers, including PhD students and post-docs, are especially encouraged to present and attend.

For inquiries please contact  Giulia Cavaliere.

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