Orla O’Donovan is interested in questions about how democracy can be deepened, the tensions between democracy and expertise, and how the production and use of science and technology for public purposes can be promoted. Much of her current research is focused on the contributions of patients’ organisations and health activists to the production of knowledge, norms and expectations about health and healthcare. In 2012, together with a group of UCC colleagues (Máire Leane, Claire Edwards and Etaoine Howlett) and colleagues based in France, Portugal and England, O’donovan completed the international collaborative research project EPOKS (European Patients’ Organisations in Knowledge Society), which focused on the contributions of patients’ organisations to the production and circulation of knowledge about health and medicine (http://www.csi.ensmp.fr/WebCSI/EPOKSWebSite/). During 2013 O’donovan will be a visiting scholar on the Yale-Hastings Program in Ethics and Health Policy and in the University of California, Berkeley, during which time she will be researching the bioethical ideas promoted by patients’ organisations in relation to organ transplantation.
Ageing, Activism and Alzheimers
Drawing on historical research on the Alzheimer’s disease movement, this talk will consider the challenges of “self-advocacy” in the context of organisations mobilised around a disease that has been understood as entailing “a loss of self”. Secondly, reflecting on the name of a recently disbanded Irish NGO alliance that championed the rights of older people, Older and Bolder, it considers the modes of political engagement of these organisations both nationally but also in their “Europeanised” form.