Dang Nguyen (Nguyễn Hồng Hải Đăng)

Dang Nguyen (Nguyễn Hồng Hải Đăng in her native Vietnamese) (PhD, History & Philosophy of Science), ‘Tracing Non-Biomedical Therapeutic Knowledge: Social-Network Lives in Action’

This thesis investigates the performance of non-biomedical therapeutic knowledge as situated knowledge on the internet. Non-biomedical therapeutic knowledge is defined as medical knowledge that exists in separation, but not isolation from, scientific biomedical knowledge. By tracing the social-network lives of non-biomedical therapeutic knowledge, the thesis examines the influences of digital technologies on the propagation of knowledge that exists in the margin of scientific knowledge, as well as the implications of this digitally-enabled propagation on non-biomedical cultural formations as living practices. Assemblages of mediated knowledge emerge as a result of encounters between digital technologies, non-biomedical knowledge, and the people who practice and receive non-biomedical therapies.

From static texts to live-streaming videos, social-network enactments replicate existing social dynamics in the propagation of marginalised knowledges, provide channels for social support through casual and ephemeral interactions, transform human experiences with downtime in tending to the sick body, and, through facilitating in vivo conceptions of space, enable the persistence of these marginalised medical practices. In studying the resultant melange of digital artefacts left behind by their actors and the emergent social-network properties arising from their relations, this thesis uses a mix of quantitative computational and qualitative digital methods.

Although each digital expression lends itself to particular analytical and methodological approaches, whose engagements produce conclusions of different epistemological standpoints, these conclusions nevertheless complement each other in the overall inquiry of assembling the social-network lives of non-biomedical knowledge. In choosing Vietnam as the local case, I offer a thorough examination of non- biomedical knowledge on the internet in context as a point of contrast, reference, or comparison for other sites and situations.

Binding the empirical findings presented in this thesis together are themes of social-network accomplishments as contingency, the politics of in/visibility in social-network labour as patchwork, and the social-network emergence of multiple space-time.

You can read more about Dang and her work on her website.

Supervisors: Professor Mike Arnold, Professor Richard Chenhall (Melbourne School of Population & Global Health)