Susan Wardell: Sociality, anonymity & power dynamics on social media; self-care, mental health & social technology; ethics and intervention in anthropology; precarity and mental health in academia – The Human Show Podcast 36





Dr. Susan Wardell is a Professional Practice Fellow at the University of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand). She is a medical/social anthropologist, with an interest in digital media technologies, particularly in relation to mental health. Her research on mental health and illness, especially among nonprofit workers, has spanned New Zealand and Uganda. She has additionally been involved with research exploring the intersection of reproductive technologies, genetics, and disability in New Zealand. Susan currently teaches on topics such as death and dying, religion and spirituality, emotion, participatory and popular culture, and more.

In today’s episode we talk to Susan about her experience in the space of mental health research and social media. We cover topics such as the fluid relationship people build with technology and about sociality, anonymity and power dynamics when engaging on Facebook. We talk about self-care and about using social technology to access communities of care. We cover treating social media as a place/a field site where people take action rather than an artefact when conducting ethnographic research; ethics, intervention and anthropology; the link between precarity and mental health in academia.

Susan Wardell – Linked In

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Mentioned in Podcast:

Ruth Fitzgerald’s work with reproductive technologies
Fitzgerald, R.P., Wardell, S., & Legge, M. (2017). Fetal Genetic Difference and a Cosmopolitan Vernacular of the Right to Choose. Women’s Studies International Forum. Advance online publication: doi: 10.1016/j.wsif.2017.04.001

M Bakhtin’s work on chronotope
Bakhtin, M. (1981). “Form of Time and Chronotope in the Novel.” The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Ed. Michael Holquist. Austin: UTP. Pp84-258.

Nikolas Rose work on responsibilisation
Rose, N. (1999). Powers of Freedom, Reframing Political Thought. Cambridge University Press.

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