14th SIEF Congress, Santiago de Compostela, Spain 14-17 April 2019



The EXCEL Project was present in the 2019 SIEF Congress, which dealt with "processes and practices of transformation – as ways of being and as an endless process of becoming".

The project presentations focused on technologies and projects of self-making, stressing the social variables of gender, age, class and race/ethnicity.


Mari Lo Bosco presented a paper titled "Fathers of children with autism: fathering and long-term caring practices as a form of self-making" in the panel "Men's commitment in long term care: changes in kinship and gender?"  

The paper addresses parenthood, masculinity and father engagement in intensive care as forms of self-making, highlighting gender dynamics and negotiations. It describes fathers' assertions of their care abilities and emotional relationships with their children diagnosed with disability.


By focusing on fathers' experiences of the bodily dimensions of caring as the ground for their recognition as caregivers, the analysis foregrounds the idea of body enhancement as an intersubjective practice. In this perspective, masculinity and fatherhood take the form of self-construction projects through the medium of the intensive investment on the child's body, her wellbeing and the enhancement of her cognitive and performative capabilities.  

In the panel "Do-it-yourself in the transforming world: practices, effects, materialities" Chiara Pussetti and Francesca De Luca presented the paper "Do (it) Yourself: self-body-making in shifting economies", discussing how self-enhancement projects can be considered auto-poietic practices.


Considering enhancement technologies consumptions and their increase in Portugal during the last ten years, the presentation discusses the recourse to enhanced body capital and self-construction projects with the socio-economic fluctuations in times of global recession and financial disquiet.

The paper articulates the main theoretical questions of the EXCEL project with an analysis of bio- and body-hacking practices, critically engaging with their claim of scientific bricolage and open-source culture, the “upgrade your body” assertion and “unpack biotechnology” motto. Moreover, the presentation shows how tackling self-enhancement practices through ethnographic fieldwork leads to a critical theoretical engagement with biopolitics, bioeconomies and bioethics.