Internet clinical trials: examining new disciplinary experiments in health care


  • Jenny Advocat Monash University, Australia



Internet-based clinical trials are the latest example of how technology is involved in altering the relationships between medical research institutions and society. This has the potential to change drastically the creation, delivery and access to health care research. An anthropology of science, technology and medicine is well-suited to examine the ways in which relationships (such as doctor-patient) are rearticulated in light of the deployment of new technologies in biomedicine. This paper examines how internet-based clinical trials may create socio-technical networks that form new kinds of subjects. Drawing on actor network theory, I discuss how the internet is co-opted for health research as an experimental disciplinary technology to constitute, normalize and shape the conduct of nomadic consumer-subjects for the purposes of developing new regimes of governing the health of populations.

Author Biography

Jenny Advocat, Monash University, Australia

I am currently in my third year as a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Medicine at the Monash Institute of Health Services Research, Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. I am interested in approaching the work of health services research and evidence based practice, within which online randomized controlled trials are developed and implemented, by drawing upon medical anthropology and science and technology studies.