Health in your pocket and on the internet: critical reexamination of contemporary advanced tools and technological intervention in the healthcare arena

postdoctoral research project
Basic Info

  • Project Executive on ZRC

    dr. Jana Šimenc
  • Code


  • Duration

    since 01. january 2016 to 31. december 2017
  • Financial Source

    Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS)

The technological shifts and developments in cybermedicine are extremely dynamic and rapid. The third wave of digital technology adaptation in healthcare is emerging: the process moves beyond the digitization, transmission and efficient management of health information towards the interaction (active involvement) and exchange of data. The discourse on the impact of technology in cybermedicine is heavily dominated by un-critical techno-utopian position, while critical social sciences’ analysis and evaluation of socio-cultural dimensions in the dynamics of integration of digital technology in healthcare remains at the margins. Socio-cultural relations and process in healthcare arena are far more dynamic and continuous negotiations in a multitude of uncertainties, social backgrounds, interests of power, and complexity of possible experiences.

Therefore the aim of the proposed research is to fill the gap and critically consider certain contemporary processes and phenomena within the context of cybermedicine. Its complex socio-cultural processes will be analyzed and displayed using three selected representative case studies. To gain critical and in-depth insights on the subject, qualitative medical-anthropological theoretical and methodological approaches will be used: analysis of the material, participant observation (fieldwork), in-depth interviews with users and representatives of industry and medicine. The project will also aim to co-develop methodology in the field of virtual/digital/cyber ethnography.

More about the project  

If you are interested in interdisciplianry collaboration, discussion  or want to know more about the project progress, preliminary research results and others, you are welcome to contact Jana Šimenc directly.




The researcher presented a paper Exploring the enactment of digital health in Slovenia at the scientific conference Ethnography 2.0.: new approaches in understanding ways of life. The conference took place on 31. 5. 2018 at the Faculty of Arts, Department of ethnology and cultural anthropology in Ljubljana. See more on:

On 21. 5. 2018 Jana Šimenc participated at the conference 17. Lošinj days of bioethics (Integrative bioethics and new era). She presented a paper titled “Facebook is my guerrilla: on ways Facebook co-creates illness experience. See more on:

On 16th of February 2018 the researcher actively participated at the workshop organized within the EU project ITHACA (InnovaTion in Health and Care for All) at the Faculty of social sciences in Ljubljana. The format of the event was »Design Thinking« aiming at stimulating discussion and creative thinking among representatives of research community, NGO-s, public sector and industry. For more about the project see,

2nd international conference HealthOnline tittled Patient engagement in digital era was held from 25 – 26. 1. 2018 at the Faculty of health sciences in Ljubljana. Researcher presented a paper Smart and healthy: about innovations and programming the future. For more about the event, please see:

Prof. Daniel Miller (UCL, UK), leader of the project Smart Phones, Smart Aging and mHealth (Horizon 2020, ERC) invited Jana Šimenc to present her research results to the core research team. On the 10th of January 2018 she gave a presentation Fieldwork impressions: on smart phones, (health)care, and start-ups in Slovenia. The project team is dispersed around the globe, that is why longer Skype session was organized.

6. 12. 2017 the researcher participated at the initiative annual event titled Lateral approaches to innovation in healthcare. She presented part of her research results and share observations on building the near future, the concepts of »we need more data« and optimization in healthcare. A short event report is available

Jana Šimenc is a member of Slovenian Unit of UNESCO Chair in Bioethics – BIOETOS. She presented a paper Inequalities in the context of digital health at the conference Equality, justice and equity, held on World bioethics day in Ljubljana, 19. 10. 2017. For more see:

At the international scientific conference Material culture, held in Ljubljana from 27-28 September 2017 the researcher was a moderator (instead of Sarah Lunaček) at the 1. session On bodies and senses. For more about the event, see

In the Journal of Slovene Ethnological Society (57/1-2, 2017) Jana Šimenc co-edited (with Uršula Lipovec Čebron) a special issue titled Meanders of medical anthropology. The researcher published an article about the synchronization of the digital in medical practice in Slovenia and extensive interview with Borut Telban, one of the pioneers in medical anthropology in Slovenia and researcher of Sepik community in Papua New Guinea. Summaries of all original scientific articles are available in English. If you want more information, please do not hesitate to contact the authors in this special issue. Contacts are provided.

The researcher participated at the First international conference on health and person-centred care in the digital society, organized by the transdisciplinary research network Navigating knowledge landscapes, 27.-29. April 2017 in Halden (Norway). She presented some of theoretical inspirations and her preliminary research results in a paper titled Dubbing national eHealth project: the case of Slovenia. Conference programme, proceedings and presentations are available here:

Researcher published a review of the book Keneth H. Kolb: Moral Wages: The Emotional Dilemmas of Victims Advocacy and Counseling (2014). »As a male ethnographer, Kolb enters a field in which women are seeking help from male violence. The book is certainly not the first to study battered woman’s shelters or victim support agencies, but the reviewer, Jana Šimenc, applauds Kolb for a straightforward auto-ethnographic account ...« Please see

The researcher presented a paper »New technologies and the digital in everyday practice: observations and critical reflexions of medical professionals« at the international scientific conference titled The internet is changing the behavior and roles in healthcare. The conference was organized and held at the Faculty of health sciences, Ljubljana, 27. 1. 2017. More on

The researcher presented a paper »The landscape of big data and medicine« at the event in the scope of the World Bioethics Day entitled "Human Dignity and Human Rights". It was held at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana on Wednesday, October 19th 2016, on the 11th anniversary of the adoption of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. For fore see here:

During summer months the researcher attended several conferences which had contributed considerably to the development of the research: sociological conference »Digital health, digital capitalism«, 4. 7. 2016, Leeds Beckett University (see here; annual ASA (Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth) conference »Footprints and Futures: The Time of Anthropology«, 4.-7. 6. 2016 at Durham University (see here; world 4S EASST (The Society for Social Studies of Science, European Association for the Study of Science and Technology) conference »Science and Technology by Other Means: Exploring Collectives, Space and Futures«, 31. 8. – 3. 9. 2016, Barcelona (see here

Jana Šimenc presented a paper "Voices online: Exploring digital health as a form of participatory action" at the IUAES inter congress World anthropologies and privatization of knowledge: engaging anthropology in public, that was organized in Dubrovnik (Croatia), 4. - 9. May 2016 ( 







social transformations
advanced digital technology and health
medical anthropology