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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]
  • Urgent Priorities, Slow Scholarship

    • Authors: MAT Editorial Collective
      Pages: 1 - 4
      Abstract: Editorial to the April issue of 2022.
      PubDate: 2022-04-28
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.2.7138
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2022)
  • Social Distancing, Interaction, and (Un)crowded Public Space in Mass
           Transit in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    • Authors: Catherine Earl
      Pages: 1 - 26
      Abstract: Vietnam’s national response to the COVID-19 pandemic is informed by its past experiences of fighting endemic disease. This response involves an emerging biosocial paradigm of long-term adaptation to living with the co-presence of viral infections. Moving beyond traditional anthropological work, this article issues an invitation to (re)think crowds and COVID-19. I offer a path forward by engaging in an interdisciplinary dialogue, drawing inspiration from a wide range of sources to understand this unfolding problematic. Through the lens of its public transport service Saigon Bus and environmental protests, I examine how the 2020–21 ‘pandemic season’ (mùa dịch) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest city, has transformed consciousness about crowds, ways of being in (un)crowded public spaces, and the regulation of networked public space. In doing so, this article explores existing and emerging shifts in policymaking and transformations of urban Vietnamese social relations, in the context of the emerging biosocial paradigm. The article contributes to medical anthropology by analysing the impact of pandemic prevention policies on the transformation of crowds—from being viewed as anti-state assemblies requiring social control into a form of pro-state participatory citizenship, exemplified by public engagement with networked activist communities in a ‘more-than-human’ world.
      PubDate: 2022-04-28
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.2.5375
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2022)
  • ‘Medicine in Name Only’: Mistrust and COVID-19 Among the Crowded
           Rohingya Refugee Camps in Bangladesh

    • Authors: Sadaf Noor E Islam, Nayanika Mookherjee, Naveeda Khan
      Pages: 1 - 32
      Abstract: This article is an anthropological examination of the health-seeking behaviours of Rohingya refugees living in crowded camps in Bangladesh, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. One international organisation providing medical care in the Kutupalong camp has found non-cooperation among the residents regarding the health facilities on offer to them. This ethnography highlights the Rohingya refugees’ active ‘mistrust’ (Carey 2017) of these medical services. We argue that these prevalent forms of mistrust provide a lens through which their individual life trajectories and politics can be understood in the context of the history of their systemic oppression by the Myanmar government. We reflect on the precarity and vulnerability of the Rohingya refugees, within which they identify mistrust as a source of resistance and protection. The mistrust of the Rohingya communities also highlights their attempts to communicate with a global public (Canetti 1960) and exhibits the ‘crowd politics’ (Chowdhury 2019) within a continued statelessness which is engendered by the Bangladeshi and Myanmar governments. This article makes an original contribution to the discussion of trust, mistrust, and rumour in society, identifying ‘the crowd’ as a site of resistance, and providing an account of the distinctive experience of the Rohingyas as refugees, and their health-seeking behaviour in the camp.
      PubDate: 2022-04-28
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.2.5424
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2022)
  • Assisted Reproductive Technologies: A Grey Zone in the Zika Epidemic in

    • Authors: Helena Prado
      Pages: 1 - 16
      Abstract: In this article, I address an issue that emerged during my ethnographic fieldwork in Brazil in 2018, which received little attention during the Zika virus outbreak that took place in the country during 2015–17. My fieldwork revealed that, interestingly, despite the epidemic and its associated risk of birth defects, some couples who were attending a fertility clinic (most of whom came from a middle- or upper-class background, with access to private health care) chose to take the risk of a pregnancy instead of delaying their plans. I argue that this case study of assisted reproductive technology (ART) is a ‘grey zone’ whose investigation aids understanding of how the Zika epidemic was managed in Brazil. By looking at the potentiality of pregnancies and prospective babies for (infertile) couples, we can analyse how fertility clinics influenced the ability of couples to engage in ART during the epidemic and explore which kinds of reproductive services were offered to patients during this time. More broadly, this case study permits the examination of how the specific case of ART sheds light on the issue of risk/reward in wider reproductive decision-making during the epidemic. In many ways, I conclude, one can say that the Zika virus epidemic came to challenge both the timing of reproduction and the choice to become pregnant.
      PubDate: 2022-04-28
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.2.5141
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2022)
  • Becoming a Mother During COVID-19: Adjustments in Performing Motherhood

    • Authors: Clémence Jullien; Dr, Roger Jeffery, Prof.
      Pages: 1 - 28
      Abstract: Based on online semi-structured interviews with middle-class women who were pregnant or had recently given birth in Western Europe (France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland), this study analyses how motherhood has been experienced and performed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article reflects on the specific new risk assessments and responsibilities that emerged during the pandemic by showing women’s coping strategies concerning lockdowns and other public health measures. Using a COVID-19 lens also allows a broader analysis of middle-class families’ concerns about performing ‘good motherhood’. By highlighting the discrepancies between women’s expected and actual experiences, the prescriptive aspects of pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum phase are revealed and analysed, prompting us to consider parenting as a form of doing and proving. By underlining the importance attached to the expectant mother’s wellbeing, the partner’s involvement, the support of relatives, and the future socialisation of the baby, we argue that women face a myriad of imperatives to ensure a meaningful experience of motherhood.
      PubDate: 2022-04-28
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.2.5310
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2022)
  • The Tyranny of Numbers: How e-Health Record Transparency Affects
           Patients’ Health Perceptions and Conversations with Physicians

    • Authors: Benedikte Møller Kristensen, John Brodersen, Alexandra Brandt Ryborg Joensson
      Pages: 1 - 25
      Abstract: All Danish adults have access to their electronic medical records on the e-health platform Sundhed.dk, which is intended as a means to empower patients. But what happens when patients see their paraclinical test results presented as numbers which are flagged as either ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’' Based on fieldwork in general practices and consultations, and on observations of individuals living with chronic illnesses, we investigated how patients and physicians interpret and interact with such numerical values, creating, as we argue through the words of Gregory Bateson, ‘epistemological errors’. We show how health record transparency blurs the patient’s senses and understanding and makes it harder for them to interpret their state of health and to trust the clinical judgement of health professionals. We argue that the immediate access to test results triggers a runaway process in which numerical values (be they normal or abnormal in comparison with a standard point of reference) transform into a threat to life itself. As such, our ethnography underlines the intricate contradiction between the trust placed in biomedical sciences and the uncertainty involved in testing, diagnosing, and treating. Patients’ access to all test results leads to a quest for certainty—one never fully obtainable, which thus instead mobilises new uncertainties.
      PubDate: 2022-04-28
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.2.5529
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2022)
  • ​Disease X and Africa: How a Scientific Metaphor Entered Popular
           Imaginaries of the Online Public During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    • Authors: Kelley Sams, Catherine Grant, Alice Desclaux, Khoudia Sow
      Pages: 1 - 28
      Abstract: In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the addition of Disease X, a hypothetical infectious threat, to its blueprint list of priority diseases. In the construction of discourse that circulated following this announcement, conceptions of Disease X intersected with representations of Africa. In our article, we share a broad strokes analysis of internet narratives about Disease X and Africa in the six months before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic (July–December 2019) and during its first six months (January–June 2020). Our analysis focuses on how the scientific concept of Disease X was applied by ‘non-experts’ to make meaning from risk, uncertainty, and response. These non-experts drew in parallel upon more general representations of power, fear, and danger. This research is particularly relevant at the time of writing, as online narratives about COVID-19 vaccination are shaping vaccine anxiety throughout the world by drawing upon similar conceptions of agency and inequality. Because Disease X in Africa still looms as a perceived future threat, considering the narratives presented in this paper can provide insight into how people create meaning when faced with a scientific concept, a global health crisis, and the idea that there are other crises yet to come.  
      PubDate: 2022-04-28
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.2.5611
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2022)
  • The Innovation Imperative in Global Health: Gendered Futurity in the
           Sayana® Press

    • Authors: Margaret Ellen MacDonald, Ellen E. Foley
      Pages: 1 - 15
      Abstract: In this Position Piece, we explore the hegemony of innovation and the construction of gendered futures in global health through the Sayana® Press, a device that delivers a version of the contraceptive drug commonly known as Depo-Provera. The device has generated tremendous enthusiasm amongst global family planning advocates for its effectiveness and ease of use, including administration by community level providers and self-injection. Claims about its potential are compelling: advocates hope it will dramatically increase access to contraceptives, and thereby unlock the social and material emancipatory promise of family planning. We offer preliminary observations about Sayana Press as an ethnographic and discursive object and further the scholarly conversation on humanitarian design by considering the gendered dimensions of global health technologies. The advent of Sayana Press reflects several significant trends in global health including the intensification of the innovation imperative and the bypassing of investments in infrastructure—both bolstered by the recent rise of the ‘self-care agenda’. Further, we suggest that global health technologies are also techniques in the Foucauldian sense—scripting new subjectivities and bodily norms towards gendered futurities. Finally, we note the dual role of the state in sexual and reproductive health as both source and object of reproductive governance.
      PubDate: 2022-04-28
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.2.5765
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2022)
  • Harm Reduction⁠— And What Keeps Us From Embracing It Fully

    • Authors: Eana Xuyi Meng, Johannes Lenhard
      Pages: 1 - 9
      Abstract: In this Review essay, we examine some of the latest and needed scholarship on harm reduction: Travis Lupick’s Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle with Addiction (2018); Jarrett Zigon’s A War on People: Drug User Politics and a New Ethics of Community (2019); Kimberly Sue’s Getting Wrecked: Women, Incarceration, and the American Opioid Crisis (2019); and Nancy Campbell’s OD: Naloxone and the Politics of Overdose (2020). Our authors present us with intimate windows into a diverse array of geographies, peoples, and technologies—from women’s jails, prisons, and community treatment programmes in Massachusetts to Vancouver’s downtown; from Copenhagen’s safe injection sites to prisons in Scotland. While varied in methods and approaches, these works unequivocally push for alternative imaginings to what one of Campbell’s protagonists dubs the ‘North American disaster’. Harm reduction is front and centre to these authors’ envisioning of a kinder, more loving, and more accepting future. Embracing harm reduction both requires and initiates a radical rethinking of how drug use is viewed, and our authors have given us crucial insight and analyses into how such reorientations are possible. We encourage continued scholarship on this topic, especially on non-Western options. 
      PubDate: 2022-04-28
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.2.5781
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2022)
  • Crowds and COVID-19: An Introduction

    • Authors: Vaibhav Saria, Pooja Satyogi
      Pages: 1 - 9
      Abstract: Introduction to the Special Section 'Crowds and COVID-19', guest edited by Vaibhav Saria and Pooja Satyogi.
      PubDate: 2022-04-23
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.2.7086
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2022)
  • Research As Development: Book Forum

    • Authors: Tom Widger, Noémi Tousignant, Michael Eddleston, Andrew Dawson, Nari Senanayake, Salla Sariola, Bob Simpson
      Pages: 1 - 16
      Abstract: Book forum on 'Research as Development'
      PubDate: 2022-04-23
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.2.6499
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2022)
  • ‘Something is Not Okay’: Bodily Expressions of Grief for
           Street-Involved Youth

    • Authors: Marion Selfridge
      Pages: 1 - 18
      Abstract: The experiences of grieving among street-involved youth are both highly visible and invisible. Their actions of living outside, engaging in money-making by approaching passersby, trading in and using drugs and alcohol, or simply hanging around in public spaces make them exposed and visible to the public. Yet, the stories that brought youth to the street and the scope of the losses they have sustained are hidden. Henry Giroux (2006, 175) describes the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as the new ‘biopolitics of disposability’ in that poor and racialised groups ‘not only have to fend for themselves in the face of life’s tragedies but are also supposed to do it without being seen by the dominant society’. This Photo Essay makes visible the bodily expressions of grief from participants in my doctoral research, Grieving Online, to create understanding into the profound losses and ways in which they cope.
      PubDate: 2022-04-19
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.2.5773
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2022)
  • Seeing Green: Plants, Pests, Pathogens, People and Pharmaceuticalisation
           in Thai Mandarin Orchards

    • Authors: Thitima Urapeepathanapong, Coll de Lima Hutchison, Komatra Chuengsatiansup
      Pages: 1 - 29
      Abstract: Medical professionals’ and policymakers’ fear of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has largely been directed toward antibiotic use in medicine and animal agriculture. In Thailand, however, the use of antibiotics in citrus orchards has raised some concern over their ‘appropriateness’ and there have been calls for reduction—if not complete cessation—of their usage. We explore the emergence of antibiotic use for citrus greening disease (CGD) as part of shifting assemblages of plants, pests, pathogens, and people, as well as of varying climates, technologies, and farming practices. We suggest that rather than being a threat coming from outside orchards, CGD pathogenicity repeatedly emerges from within, and in Thailand appears to have increased alongside, the intensification of agricultural practices. We document how, when antibiotics emerged in the mid-20th century, their ‘pharmaceutical efficacy’ was insufficient to trigger their widespread adoption. Rather, the pharmaceuticalisation of orchards continues to be entangled with the expansion and intensification of mandarin agriculture, and also with the affordability of antibiotics, dissemination of relevant knowledge, and availability of equipment for their injection. Current proposals to reduce antibiotic use risk not taking sufficiently seriously the importance of their role in sustaining intensive orchard practices—and profits.
      PubDate: 2022-04-14
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.2.5374
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2022)
  • Escaping the Clinic: Exposure as Care among Military Medical Professionals
           at War

    • Authors: Jocelyn Lim Chua
      Pages: 1 - 25
      Abstract: This article examines exposure in the mobile reach of care in war in order to theorise exposure as care. It does so from the margins, focusing on US military medical professionals of the officer class in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, who feel distanced from the ‘real’ war experience represented by the infantry soldier, and thus engage in practices of exposure to gain the ‘trust’ and ‘respect’ of their soldier-patients. To grasp something of the promise and perils of exposure and its everyday enactments, I analyse one army physician assistant’s accounts of secretly stealing away on combat missions and the use of an ambulation tool called ‘the walkabout’ by the military mental healthcare community. The material, operational, and tactical settings of counterinsurgency and the professional cultures of military care occupations dynamically intersect to engender specific contexts for, opportunities within, and risks associated with exposure among military elite. An examination of exposure reveals that military medical professionals recast the hegemonic authority of proximity to soldiering in terms of the ethical norms and professional values of medicine: in a word, as care.
      PubDate: 2022-04-14
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.2.5250
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2022)
  • The Essential Crowd: Service Workers and Social Death in Pandemic Times

    • Authors: Mary K. Bloodsworth-Lugo, Carmen R. Lugo-Lugo
      Pages: 1 - 23
      Abstract: During the spring of 2020, public messaging in the United States regarding COVID-19 conveyed the idea that pandemics and viral infections strike people from ‘all walks of life’ and that ‘diseases know no borders’. Corporations and media outlets disseminated the message that ‘we are all in this together’. While there might be some truth in these messages, they have also been challenged as existing social inequalities have been exposed by the impacts of COVID-19. The slogan ‘we are all in this together’—which apportions risk equally—is undermined when we consider the ‘social apparatus’ that informs people’s everyday lives. While people from some walks of life have been afforded the opportunity to telework, for instance, others have been required to report physically to workplaces. Given the tag ‘essential workers’, these people often work in places that carry greater risk of infection, partly because these spaces are some of the few remaining in which crowds continue to gather during the global pandemic. We use Lisa Marie Cacho’s (2012) formulation of the concept of ‘social death’ to offer a working theoretical model of essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. We engage with Cacho’s model of ‘social death’ to highlight the blurred lines, in times of crisis, between those rendered valuable and valueless (or disposable).
      PubDate: 2022-02-28
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.2.5358
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2022)
  • Silent Questions: (Not) Talking about Dying in the Pearl River Delta

    • Authors: Mira Menzfeld
      Pages: 1 - 10
      Abstract: This Field Notes contribution describes the difficulty of confronting the topic of dying in conversations with terminally ill persons in the Pearl River Delta region in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and how the ethnographer responded to this difficulty in a way she did not expect. While there is probably no ideal conversation starter for this subject anywhere in the world, bringing up the topic of approaching death is particularly challenging in China. First, it is considered impolite and harmful to communicate to a person directly that she is dying. Second, a terminal diagnosis is not necessarily received as though fatality is an inevitable consequence. After more than a few instances of feeling awkward and unequipped to talk to terminally ill persons during fieldwork, the author came to a realisation: encouraging those who are dying to communicate their experience of dying is not about finding a suitable opening line; rather, it is about silent presence, which may be the best invitation to speak. 
      PubDate: 2022-02-13
      DOI: 10.17157/mat.9.2.5536
      Issue No: Vol. 9, No. 2 (2022)
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