Throughout her training in psychology, philosophy and anthropology, and as a researcher working at the intersection of STS and medical anthropology and sociology, Else Vogel has had an interest in the practices through which people (are taught to) relate to their bodies, and how they craft themselves as persons through these practices. At the core of this interest lies, on the one hand, a curiosity towards how knowledges and technologies enact ways of being a person and body, and how they shape the socio-material organization of daily life. On the other hand, a concern with the politics and normative registers in which subjects are cast through practices aimed at health, productivity and/or wellbeing.
Previously, she was a PhD candidate working in an ERC-funded project “The Eating Body in Western theory and practice” led by prof. Annemarie Mol. In October 2016 she defended her PhD dissertation entitled “Subjects of Care: Living with overweight in the Netherlands’ (cum laude), which explores the tensions within, and surprises of, obesity health care practices in the Netherlands.
Else currently works as a postdoc at Linköping University in a team of STS researchers lead by prof. Steve Woolgar. Her research focuses on how the political and medical ideal of “self-management” translates to health care practices targeting stress-related conditions such as burnout and chronic pain. Her ethnographic focus is on the self-care techniques meant to achieve the transformation to an active self-caring subject, such as setting boundaries around the self; rewriting behavioural patterns; and learning to feel one’s needs and sensations. In so doing, she explores how such health care practices negotiate normativities of (self-)worth, vulnerability, productivity, relationality and health.