Technocracies of care: facts and values in the practice of medical humanitarian emergency

Part of an on-going thesis project, this presentation uses ethnographic narrative as a means to explore the collaborative, provisional and iterative process of knowledge production in and of crisis situations. By showcasing a dialogue between emergency medical aid professionals, the exposition throws a light on the vast array of facts and values brought into coordination to produce accounts of crisis. The process of “coming to know crisis” generates pathways to action that participants consider both ethical and patterned on rational scientific reasoning.

The presentation argues that when scientific rationality and managerialism are deployed in the context of a medico-humanitarian value framework, the result is a hybrid rationality I term “technocracies of care.” By contrast to Weberian or Foucaultian bureaucracies that apply rationality with intent to administer populations in service of the state, technocracies of care are rationalist institutions that seek to address individuals, exporting “care” as a public good.