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  Subjects -> ANTHROPOLOGY (Total: 398 journals)
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Medicine Anthropology Theory
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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 2405-691X
Published by U of Edinburgh Journal Hosting Service Homepage  [21 journals]
  • Behind the Scenes at MAT: Labour at an open access journal

    • Authors: MAT Editorial Collective
      Pages: 1 - 5
      Abstract: Editorial to the September issue of 2022.
      PubDate: 2022-09-23
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.3.7396
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 3 (2022)
       
  • Antibiotic Arrivals in Africa: A Case Study of Yaws and Syphilis in
           Malawi, Zimbabwe and Uganda

    • Authors: Paula Palanco Lopez, Salome Manyau, Justin Dixon, Eleanor MacPherson, Susan Nayiga, John Manton, Claas Kirchhelle, Clare I. R. Chandler
      Pages: 1 - 31
      Abstract: The mass production of antibiotics in the 1940s enabled their travel beyond Europe and America, but to date the significance of the ways in which these medicines co-constituted colonial regimes at the time has not been systematically described. Through a case study of yaws and syphilis, this research article traces arrivals of antibiotics in three countries of Eastern Africa—Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Uganda. We draw attention to the emergent roles of antibiotics at the intersection of colonial governance and humanitarianism in these different settings. Through this analysis of archival and ethnographic materials, we explore how antibiotics became ‘infrastructural’ in material, affective, and political ways. Achieving a better understanding of the entanglement of antibiotics with human systems and lives is crucial to address the pressing issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). With this article we join in the global multidisciplinary efforts to tackle AMR, pointing out the often-overlooked role of colonial history in the circulation of antibiotic drugs, and opening a line of research that will provide valuable insights for the development of effective measures to prevent and reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance.
      PubDate: 2022-09-23
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.3.5633
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 3 (2022)
       
  • Swan Song: An Account of Organ Donation after Circulatory Death

    • Authors: Laurence Tessier
      Pages: 1 - 18
      Abstract: This is an account of a procedure of organ donation after circulatory death (DCD) that took place in July 2019 in a French hospital. Based on an ethnography in the neuro intensive care unit (neuro-ICU) of this hospital, I describe the impressions that DCD leaves on those taking part in it, the surprise effects it may produce, and the questions that it poses about what remains alive in a person on the brink of imminent death. This account is also that of a medical and technical complication, the advent of which makes it possible to document how organ donation protocols force doctors to clarify the dividing line between life and death. 
      PubDate: 2022-09-23
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.3.5693
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 3 (2022)
       
  • Sticking with the Fat: Excess and Insignificance of Fat Tissue in Cadaver
           Dissection

    • Authors: Helene Scott-Fordsmand
      Pages: 1 - 21
      Abstract: Fat, in the context of dissection, is a nuisance, an obstruction to anatomical order and orientation. Yet it makes up a large part of the human body, and in the practice of dissection becomes one of the most prominent materials in the room, as it sticks to gloves and spreads through the dissection hall, making chairs greasy and instruments slippery. In this article I explore the role and significance of fat tissue in anatomical dissection for medical students. In anatomy, fat remains largely an excess material; something superfluous, insignificant, left-over when the body is turned into an anatomical body consisting of muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and bones, cleaned and displayable. But fat is also something which appears in experience as excessive, omnipresent, proliferating, and resistant to attempts to keep it in order. Much anthropological work within dissection practices has described the process of ‘cleaning’ the bodies, but often—mirroring medicine—these accounts follow the becoming of the anatomical body and leave the fat behind. In this article, I try to ‘stick with’ the fat and suggest that fat tissue, as an embodiment or material manifestation of the more-than-anatomical-body, may tell us something about bodies, subjectivity, scientific order, and dissection.
      PubDate: 2022-09-23
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.3.6186
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 3 (2022)
       
  • The Politics of Breathing Troubles in COVID-19: Pandemic Inequalities and
           the Right to Breathe across India and Germany

    • Authors: Nasima Selim
      Pages: 1 - 15
      Abstract: ‘Breathing trouble’ refers both to a biopolitical process and a metaphor for the current global condition. This Position Piece draws inspiration from the ‘universal right to breathe’ frame suggested by Joseph-Achille Mbembe (2021a) to discuss pandemic inequalities in Kolkata (India) from a location in the global north, Berlin (Germany), where the author currently lives and works. Drawing from the circumstances surrounding the interruption of my fieldwork in urban India, I argue how the border-crossing pandemic and the choking politics of the ruling governments in India and Germany are entangled in the production of pandemic inequalities. The coeval discussions of lived experiences and political grievances ‘there’ (India/Kolkata) and the critical questioning of the image of India from ‘here’ (Germany/Berlin) invite an understanding of breathing beyond its purely biological function to what we have in common, as the universal right to breathe. Such framing may help anthropologists to reattune to spatial, temporal, and ethical dimensions of excess empirical events in the constantly changing yet simultaneous pandemic realities.
      PubDate: 2022-09-23
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.3.5750
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 3 (2022)
       
  • Reconsidering the Declaration of ‘Crisis’ While Living through
           One

    • Authors: Susanna Trnka
      Pages: 1 - 17
      Abstract: What counts as a ‘crisis’' How do we determine an ‘emergency’' Who gets to do so, and what exactly is at stake' Scholarly examinations of ‘crises’, including, most notably, seminal work by Janet Roitman (2013), frequently underscores how the ‘crisis imaginary’ is employed to rapidly and unjustifiably expand State power. Certainly, State responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have amply demonstrated this critique, as was noted early on by both Agamben (2020) and Chomsky (2020). Nonetheless, regardless of its political manipulations, crisis can also be understood as a phenomenological state, as there exist moments during which we collectively experience being plunged into a radically different time-space that is perhaps best conceptualised as a ‘collective critical event’. Such ‘extraordinary’ times have been denoted as events beyond the scope of narration (Briggs 2003); ‘failure[s] of the grammar of the ordinary’ (Das 2007); or moments of incredulity that surpass our capacities of narration. By focusing on the languaging of the COVID-19 pandemic in Aotearoa/New Zealand, this Position Piece grapples with how to reconcile the insights offered by critiques of the political deployment of claims of ‘crises’ with anthropological and other phenomenological accounts of experiences of moments of profound upheaval.
      PubDate: 2022-09-23
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.3.6531
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 3 (2022)
       
  • An Ethnographer’s Dilemma: Researching Birthing Practices in India

    • Authors: Sreya Majumdar
      Pages: 1 - 7
      Abstract: These field notes are based on my research study which aims to understand the recent changes and developments in childbirth practices in India that propagate natural birthing practices as a childbirth choice available to birthing women. Drawing from this multi-sited ethnographic study conducted in birth centres in India from November 2018 to October 2019, I reflect on my fieldwork engagements to show the dilemmas that emerged during my research. In these field notes, I examine my position as a researcher with a focus on the complex ways in which the relationship between the respondents (birth professionals and birthing couples) and the researcher is navigated in a field site. 
      PubDate: 2022-09-23
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.3.5296
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 3 (2022)
       
  • In the Shadows of COVID-19: From January 2020 to October 2021

    • Authors: Sophie Mylan
      Pages: 1 - 8
      Abstract: In this Field Note piece, I use my clinical and research experiences in the UK and Uganda during the COVID-19 pandemic to explore the contrasting ways it unravelled in each setting during the period between January 2020 and October 2021. In the UK, working as a clinician while also studying at a leading public health institution, my life became monopolised by COVID-19, particularly in relation to concerns around direct transmission of the virus and the illness it causes. Whilst conducting fieldwork and working in a health centre in Uganda, however, I was reminded to pay greater attention to the effects of COVID-19 restrictions and the burden of other causes of ill health. Bringing together these experiences, this piece explores how priorities and preparedness for fieldwork developed in one setting do not necessarily translate to another location, thereby underlining the challenges of planning adequately for fieldwork.
      PubDate: 2022-09-23
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.3.5632
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 3 (2022)
       
  • Ethics in Practice and Ethnography: Faux pas During Fieldwork with
           Structurally Vulnerable Groups

    • Authors: Natalia Luxardo
      Pages: 1 - 13
      Abstract: Ethical issues are an essential part of research and need to be considered throughout the process and in its aftermath, especially when including vulnerable groups. This Field Notes revisits some ethical tensions that emerged during fieldwork with a ‘vulnerable population’—a group of waste-pickers and their families—and links these to specific avenues for further thinking within ethical frameworks. I reflect on mistakes, omissions, and blunders committed over 5 years working with this social group affected by many different forms of injustices, part of my 25 years of wider research into social inequalities and health disparities within marginalised communities. I remark upon three emerging ethical tensions relating to: the exclusion of certain narratives; the layers of vulnerabilities and danger of harm; and the risk of stereotyping vulnerable groups. I conclude that, more than just considering ethical issues within the context of our own work as researchers on moral solipsism, decisions in applied ethics must be integrated into broader models that offer a connected rationale for the infinite situations that can emerge from research. Alternative ethical models—such as anti-racist, feminist, communitarian, and transformative approaches—provide chances for collective decision making and promote social justice, equity, and democracy. 
      PubDate: 2022-09-23
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.3.5747
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 3 (2022)
       
  • Anthropological Engagements with Global Health

    • Authors: Priscilla Medeiros, Allyson Oliphant, Steven Farrow, Priyanka Gill
      Pages: 1 - 10
      Abstract: Epidemic infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, Ebola, and more recently COVID-19, have persistent and devastating impacts in human populations across the globe. In this Review essay, we consider together the monographs Epidemic Illusions (Richardson 2021) and Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds (Farmer 2020), as well as the documentary film Bending the Arc (Davidson and Kos 2017), Together, they demonstrate the history of transnational colonialism, the significance of structural violence as a contributor to global health inequity, and the increasing presence of co-occurring epidemics worldwide, topics which are often absent from discussions of global health systems. These three works discuss epidemics as pathologies of history and sociocultural patterns of colonial dispossession in global health systems; the inclusion of patient narratives in two of them, the film Bending the Arc and the book Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds, is pivotal in describing the intricacies of HIV infection and other infectious diseases, as well as the complexity of gaining control of syndemic diseases. Further, these three materials point to the importance of health education in communities and of access to healthcare by community members, and to the roles that health education and access play in health policy implementation.
      PubDate: 2022-09-23
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.3.5628
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 3 (2022)
       
  • Colonial Entanglements and African Health Worlds

    • Authors: Thandeka Cochrane
      Pages: 1 - 9
      Abstract: Following Ann Stoler’s (2016) idea of colonial and (post)colonial history as recursive, a history which folds back upon itself, emerging in new shapes and forms yet still carrying the formations that they are folded into, and Achille Mbembe’s argument that in the (post)colony the ‘past and present are entangled in hydra-headed ways’ (Mbembe and Hofmeyr 2006), this Review essay puts into conversation three recent publications: Marrku Hokkanen’s Medicine, Mobility and Empire (2017), Simukai Chigudu’s The Political Life of an Epidemic (2020), and Luke Messac’s No More to Spend (2020). I argue that these books help elucidate the transitions from colonial to postcolonial biomedicine in Africa and show what has endured. Focusing on books that look at a small part of south-eastern Africa, the essay examines how detailed historical analysis of the colonial creation of the medical world in the region can allow a temporally entangled understanding of medicine in the (post)colony. In particular, I observe how these three books highlight the impact of colonial logics of spatiality on African medical and healthcare worlds and suggest that paying careful attention to the colonial entanglements of African health worlds is crucial to understanding their contemporary shapes and forms. 
      PubDate: 2022-09-23
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.3.6991
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 3 (2022)
       
  • Accounting for Complexity: Thinking With Idealisations, Models, and Data

    • Authors: Kathryne Metcalf
      Pages: 1 - 9
      Abstract: What does it mean to call something complex' This Review essay describes three recent books which take up complex problems and the problem of complexity: philosopher Angela Potochnik’s Idealization and the Aims of Science (2017); science and technology studies (STS) scholar Nicole Nelson’s Model Behavior: Animal Experiments, Complexity, and the Genetics of Psychiatric Disorders (2018); and historian of science Bruno Strasser’s Collecting Experiments: Making Big Data Biology (2019). Taken together, these works lay out a refreshed analytic vocabulary and set of guiding concerns for thinking about what complexity is and does in medical research, and how complexity mediates public participation in science and medicine.
      PubDate: 2022-09-23
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.3.7290
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 3 (2022)
       
  • Giving Care a Platform: The Use of Instagram by Mothers of Children with
           Chronic Illness

    • Authors: Mikayla Gordon Wexler, Christopher Dole
      Pages: 1 - 20
      Abstract: In this article, we explore the ways that the social media platform Instagram shapes the intersubjective experience of caring for children with chronic illnesses. Based on long-term immersive social media research and in-depth interviews with women maintaining popular Instagram accounts dedicated to caring for children with chronic illnesses, we approach Instagram as a ‘moral laboratory’ (Mattingly 2010) in which caregivers negotiate the meaning of their present experiences and experiment with potential futures for themselves, their children, and their relationships together. Through a consideration of the role played by Instagram in mediating the forms of affective labour these mothers engaged in, we consider how the very features that make Instagram a resource—its ability to foster a sense of social connectedness, validate their invisible labour, and provide practical knowledge—both create new and intensify longstanding forms of pressure and anxiety in their lives. We regard these Instagram feeds as complex social settings that are playing an increasingly important role in the trajectory of lives of people with chronic illness and their caregivers.
      PubDate: 2022-08-05
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.3.5768
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 3 (2022)
       
  • “Our Blood Itself Is Disabled!”: Haemoglobinopathy, Certificate
           Anxiety, and Contested Constitutionalism in Disability Legislation in
           India

    • Authors: Sanghamitra Das
      Pages: 1 - 26
      Abstract: On 28 December 2016, the Government of India passed a national disability act which for the first time recognised genetic blood disorders—thalassemia, sickle cell disease, and haemophilia—as disabilities, entitling affected individuals to affirmative action. While it was welcomed by patient communities, this policy decision also sowed seeds of collective anxieties regarding the assessment of the required degree of disability in affected individuals. Thirteen months later, a set of national guidelines were published that dictated the procedures for determining whether a patient meets this ‘benchmark disability’ standard, thus materialising the collective anxieties of blood disorder patient communities. Utilising ‘patchwork ethnography’ as a methodology, in this article I focus on haemoglobinopathy (thalassemia and sickle cell disease) patient communities in India to investigate the ‘certificate anxieties’ that stem from the difficulties of certifying disability percentage for those with genetic blood disorders. These anxieties arise from the tensions between a (bio)constitutional reordering of disability categories and the contestations of these categories, which are rooted in articulations of citizenship rights. I argue that such contested constitutionalisms give rise to productive tensions in State–(disabled) citizen relations that have the potential to realign institutions with citizens’ accounts of social justice.
      PubDate: 2022-08-04
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.3.5770
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 3 (2022)
       
 
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