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Medical Anthropology

Felicity Aulino
Middle-aged, working- and middle-class people in urban Northern Thailand are using demographic categories to imagine their future identities as 'senior citizens'. I here introduce the term demographic imaginary to provide a conceptual framework for understanding how characterizations of the population at large are constructed, take hold, and shape group identification. More than simply justification for study and action, demographic categories and prognoses are key components of the social world made visible in narratives at the micro- and macro-social level...
January 27, 2017: Medical Anthropology
Marcia C Inhorn
In this article, I explore the reproductive health problems faced by Iraqi refugees, one of America's most rapidly growing immigrant populations. Based on anthropological research in 'Arab Detroit', the 'capital' of Arab America, I explore the experiences of Iraqi refugee men seeking medical help for their infertility. Most required intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a variant of in vitro fertilization (IVF). However, in America's privatized medical system-where a single cycle can cost more than $12,000-few could possibly afford this assisted reproductive technology (ART)...
January 6, 2017: Medical Anthropology
Mikka Nielsen
ADHD is, I argue, an impairment in sense of time and a matter of difference in rhythm; it can be understood as a certain being in the world, or more specifically, as a disruption in the experience of time and a state of desynchronization and arrhythmia. Through excerpts of interviews with adults diagnosed with ADHD and observations, I illustrate how impairment in time is manifested in an embodied experience of being out of sync. I suggest that the experience of ADHD is characterized as 1) an inner restlessness and bodily arrhythmia; 2) an intersubjective desynchronization between the individual and its surroundings; and 3) a feeling of lagging behind socially due to difficulties in social skills...
December 29, 2016: Medical Anthropology
Carolyn Heitmeyer
Public engagement through government-sponsored "public consultations" in biomedical innovation, specifically stem cell research and therapy, has been relatively limited in India. However, patient groups are drawing upon collaborations with medical practitioners to gain leverage in promoting biomedical research and the conditions under which patients can access experimental treatments. Based on qualitative fieldwork conducted between 2012 and 2015, I examine the ways in which two patient groups engaged with debates around how experimental stem cell therapy should be regulated, given the current lack of legally binding research guidelines...
December 23, 2016: Medical Anthropology
Camilo Sanz
I discuss the physical wearing out of low-income cancer patients in the aftermath of the neoliberal restructuring of the Colombian health care system in 1993. The settings for this struggle are the hospitals and the health insurance companies; the actors are bodies with cancer, the physicians who diagnose people with cancer, and the relatives who care for them. I show how most low-income patients, instead of accessing complete anti-cancer treatments in a timely fashion, have to negotiate and confront health insurance companies and profit-making...
December 23, 2016: Medical Anthropology
Matthew Kohrman
Seen through the prism of public health, the cigarette industry is an apparatus of death. To those who run it, however, it is something more prosaic: a workplace comprised of people whose morale is to be shepherded. Provisioning employees of the cigarette industry with psychic scaffolding to carry out effective daily work is a prime purpose of the China Tobacco Museum. This multistoried exhibition space in Shanghai is a technology of self, offering a carefully curated history of cigarette production thematized around tropes such as employee exaltation...
January 2017: Medical Anthropology
Amy Borovoy, Li Zhang
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 2017: Medical Anthropology
Sandra Teresa Hyde
In this article, I explore a Chinese residential therapeutic community I call Sunlight in order to understand its quotidian therapies, its fraught nature binding China's past with its future, and the to care for the self under postsocialism. Reviewing Sunlight ethnographically allows for broader theoretical exploration into how China's economic transition created tensions between capitalism, socialism, and communism; between individual and community, care and coercion, and discipline and freedom. Sunlight blended democratic, communal, and communist values that in several ways transition drug addicts into a market-socialist society...
January 2017: Medical Anthropology
Amy Borovoy
In this essay, I revisit the politics of social control in the context of contemporary public health discussions, touching on the management of obesity and chronic illness. Foucault's cautionary observations regarding the infiltration of normative social values into the terrain of healing offer a productive framework for considering the politics of public health in the industrialized world. I explore Japan's public health paradigm and its key features of bureaucratic reform and health interventions through screening, socialization, education, and aggressive lifestyle training, and I consider the close proximity between health and socio-cultural values in the management of chronic conditions in Japan...
January 2017: Medical Anthropology
Laura C Nelson
Cancer incidence has been rising in South Korea, coincident with industrialization and with increased longevity. This has opened the way to a presentation of cancer as a symptom of prosperity and social advancement. Cancer care for older South Koreans is marketed widely as a way of giving back to the older generation, and is often portrayed as an opportunity to mobilize technological achievement alongside family care work to honor aging parents. Because breast cancer tends to affect a younger cohort, however, breast cancer patients seek more specific explanations for their illness in order to prevent recurrence...
January 2017: Medical Anthropology
Paul Brodwin
The authors contributing to this special issue draw on Foucault's notion of technologies of the self: the means by which people operate on their own bodies and souls in pursuit of self-transformation, always according to particular regimes of value. Foucault's notion remains attractive to anthropology: the technologies are ethnographically visible, and they illustrate how power affects the intimate realms of social life. The authors in this issue take up three problems: (1) the process by which people craft new subjectivities, (2) the genealogy of the new technologies of the self now circulating in East Asia, and (3) the forms of governance and political rationality that they justify...
January 2017: Medical Anthropology
Nancy J Burke, Holly F Mathews
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 17, 2016: Medical Anthropology
Nolan Kline
Medical anthropology has a vital role in identifying health-related impacts of policy. In the United States, increasingly harsh immigration policies have formed a multilayered immigrant policing regime comprising state and federal laws and local police practices, the effects of which demand ethnographic attention. In this article, I draw from ethnographic fieldwork in Atlanta, Georgia, to examine the biopolitics of immigrant policing. I underscore how immigrant policing directly impacts undocumented immigrants' health by producing a type of fear based governance that alters immigrants' health behaviors and sites for seeking health services...
November 16, 2016: Medical Anthropology
Naomi Richards
The highly charged debate about the moral status of assisted suicide features regularly in the news media in medically advanced countries. In the United Kingdom, the debate has been dominated in recent years by a new mode of death: assisted suicide in Switzerland, so-called suicide tourism. Drawing on in-depth interviews with people who were actively planning on 'going to Switzerland,' alongside participant-observation at a do-it-yourself self-deliverance workshop, I discuss how participants arrived at their decision to seek professionalized assistance...
November 15, 2016: Medical Anthropology
Robin Root, Arnau Van Wyngaard, Alan Whiteside
We draw on a study of a church-run community home-based care organization in Swaziland to explore how individuals living with HIV perceived caregivers' impact on well-being. Our primary concern was to examine how religion, as a heuristic practice of Christian-based caregiving, was felt to be consequential in a direly underserved region. Part of a larger medical anthropological project, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 79 community home-based care clients, of whom half (53%) said they would have died, some from suicide, without its services...
November 15, 2016: Medical Anthropology
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 2016: Medical Anthropology
Bjarke Nielsen
The ADHD epidemic has been the subject of much scrutiny, especially in relation to the medicalization of children, and, to a lesser degree, to the use of Ritalin as a performance enhancer or party drug (e.g. Keane 2008; Whitaker 2010; Bowden 2013). In this article, my focus is on non-investigated side-effects of this epidemic, namely the use of (prescription) Ritalin among heavy drug users. Based on fieldwork conducted in one of the largest cities in Denmark, in this article I trace the spread of intravenous use of Ritalin, and examine how different ways of ingesting Ritalin transform the drug itself, and, with this, transform treatment practices, parts of the drug scene, and the bodies of users...
September 27, 2016: Medical Anthropology
Karen-Sue Taussig
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
September 26, 2016: Medical Anthropology
Yuyang Mei
Global health and neoliberalism are becoming increasingly intertwined as organizations utilize markets and profit motives to solve the traditional problems of poverty and population health. I use field work conducted over 14 months in a global health technology company to explore how the promise of neoliberalism re-envisions humanitarian efforts. In this company's vaccine refrigerator project, staff members expect their investors and their market to allow them to achieve scale and develop accountability to their users in developing countries...
September 23, 2016: Medical Anthropology
Jocelyn Lim Chua
The unprecedented reliance today on psychiatric drugs to maintain mission readiness in war and to treat veterans at home has been the subject of ethical debate in the United States. While acknowledging these debates, I advocate for an ethnography of how US soldiers and veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars themselves articulate political and ethical tensions in their experiences of psychiatric drug treatment. Detailing one army veteran's interpretations of drug effects as narrated through the lens of his current antiwar politics, I examine the radicalizing transformations of self and subjectivity that he attributes both to his witnessing drug use in Iraq and to the neurochemical effects of his own medications...
September 20, 2016: Medical Anthropology
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