I am an assistant professor of anthropology of Health, Care and the Body. Since beginning my doctorate in 2012, I have developed my research at the nexus of Cultural Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies (STS), focusing on values in (human and animal) health care practices. In my work I combine philosophical reflection with empirical study of care practices. Next to advancing theories of valuation, care and biopolitics, my work informs public deliberation on complex health issues.
My current research explores how values come together and are negotiated in a world caught between the growing demand for meat, pressing ecological challenges, and rising concerns for animal welfare. Developing the emerging fields of environmental anthropology and ‘multi-species ethnography’, I theorize how different human-animal relations are navigated in practice by those involved in food production. Supported by a Veni grant from the Dutch Research Council, my ethnographic research explores how farm animal care involves negotiation between various notions of ‘the good’ – animal welfare, financial interests, public health and sustainability. I focus on how veterinarians - professionals who crucially shape contemporary human-animal relationships - negotiate diverse concerns and contribute to changes in the livestock sector.
In 2023, I was awarded an ERC Starting Grant to continue this research with the project VetValues through a comparative ethnography of veterinary care in three European countries: The Netherlands, Sweden and Italy. This project will commence in April 2024.
In my doctorate I examined care practices targeting obesity as part of the ERC project 'The Eating Body in Western practice and theory' led by Annemarie Mol. I showed that while the dominant approach to obesity emphasizes self-control and bodily discipline, other forms of care differently negotiate diverse values, such as having a healthy body, leading a good life, financial constraints and other practicalities—work that has led to a new theoretical perspective on the ethical and practical considerations of handling a multifaceted health problem. My PhD dissertation was awarded a cum laude distinction and received the Premium Erasmianum Thesis Prize. In my postdoc at the Values group in Linkoping University, led by Steve Woolgar, I continued to study self-care practices, focusing on Dutch rehabilitation centres targeting chronic pain and fatigue – both health conditions that are notoriously neglected in contemporary western medicine.
In addition to supervising master students in various programmes, I am currently the course coordinator of the MAS Research Design course and co-teach the MCSA elective Multispecies Ecologies and Planetary Matter.
Within the AISSR postgraduate training programme, I teach the PhD course Advanced Ethnographic Methods.