Amelang, Katrin | Germany

Katrin Amelang

Katrin Amelang is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the Department of Anthropology and Cultural Research at the University of Bremen, Germany and co-organizer of the Bremen NatureCultures Lab. She graduated in cultural anthropology and political science (University of Frankfurt/M.) and completed her doctorate with an ethnographic thesis on the production of normality after organ transplantation (HU Berlin). For many years, she has been working at the intersection of cultural anthropology and (feminist) Science and Technology Studies, especially in the fields of health, medicine and human-technology relations. Her current research explores every-day encounters with digital technology, processes of datafication and the cultural dimension of software, algorithms and data.

Project at IAS-STS:
Future-Making between Science, Technology and Everyday Life: Exploring cultures of prediction in algorithmic calculations of body and health

The project looks at “cultures of prediction” from an everyday perspective. To this end, I will reconsider ethnographic research material on two digital devices that rely on predictive algorithms to “tame” the uncertainty of bodily processes while having to accept the uncertainty of predictive knowledge (statistic probabilities). Device 1 is an epidemiological risk score used as risk calculator and decision-aid in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Device 2 is concerned with a mobile app genre, i.e. period-tracking apps, which support both self-observation and the calculation of menstrual cycles and menstruating bodies. By juxtaposing these two exemplary cases of health/body being made calculable and predictable, I explore, especially with regard to the different temporalities and time horizons of the forecasts, how statistical predictions are shaped, negotiated and reshaped in everyday practices of decision- and future-making. Conceptually, the term “cultures of prediction” serves as reference point to discuss the ways people make sense of predictive results and life’s potentialities, encountering and co-creating hypothesized and imagined futures.  

Contact: amelang at uni-bremen [punkt] de

Selected Publications:

K. Amelang (2020): “(Not) Safe to Use: Insecurities in Everyday Data Practices with Period-Tracking Apps”. In: Hepp/Jarke/Kramp, Leif (eds.): New Perspectives in Critical Data Studies. The Ambivalences of Data Power. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 297-321.

K. Amelang, S. Bauer (2019): “Following the Algorithm. How Epidemiological Risk Scores Do Accountability”. Social Studies of Science 49:4, 476-502.

F. Gesing, M. Knecht, M. Flitner, K. Amelang (eds.) (2019): NaturenKulturen. Denkräume und Werkzeuge für neue politische Ökologien. Bielefeld: transcript