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Medical Anthropology

Amy E Snively-Martinez
Widespread use of antibiotics is of concern due to the selection for resistant bacterial strains, which render life-saving antimicrobials ineffective. Smallholders in rural Guatemala rely on human antibiotics to treat their poultry, and in this article, I aim to understand why they do so. I incorporate Ethnographic Decision Modeling (EDM) to understand treatment behaviors. Results indicate that access and affordability in opportunity costs are barriers to seeking veterinary medicines for poultry. Access to veterinary medicine and education campaigns on poultry health are necessary to support the appropriate use of antimicrobials for backyard poultry...
December 11, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Dána-Ain Davis
In this article, I analyze the birth stories of Black women living in the United States. Their birth stories describe various forms of racism during medical encounters while they were pregnant or during labor and delivery. In the global women's health arena, the issues raised are viewed as obstetric violence. However, obstetric racism-as both an occurrence and analytic-best captures the particularities of Black women's reproductive care during the pre- and post-natal period. Obstetric racism is a threat to positive birth outcomes...
December 6, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Mette Toft Rønberg
Based on fieldwork among adults suffering from depression in Denmark, I explore depression as an out-of-tune embodiment, characterized by disturbances of bodily experiences and loss of bodily resonance. I depict my informants' efforts to attune to the rhythm of the everyday through different kinds of body work. This perspective calls for an acknowledgement of the resonant body, and provides a non-reductionist portrayal of depression that differs from the dominant understanding of depression as an individual (brain) disorder...
December 4, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Tanja Ahlin
In the context of transnational family life, everyday information and communication technologies (ICTs) are key members of transnational care collectives. Through the approach of material semiotics to care as a relational practice between people and nonhuman entities, I explore frequent calling as one aspect of these collectives. I analyze the practice of frequent calling on phone and webcam between elderly parents living in Kerala, South India, and their adult children who work abroad as nurses. When family members are scattered around the world, frequent calling becomes a way to enact "good care" at a distance...
November 28, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Jennifer J Carroll
In 2014, Russian authorities in occupied Crimea shut down all medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs for patients with opioid use disorder. These closures dramatically enacted a new political order. As the sovereign occupiers in Crimea advanced new constellations of citizenship and statehood, so the very concept of "right to health" was re-tooled. Social imaginations of drug use helped single out MAT patients as a population whose "right to health," protected by the state, would be artificially restricted...
November 27, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Anne E Pfister
In this article, I trace the most salient features of Mexican families' complex journeys as they coped with the "predicament" of childhood deafness. Framing support seeking through the theoretical lens of pilgrimage brings into focus family introspection and captures their tenacity while facing culture-specific obstacles. Ultimately, families realized their quests were not about "fixing" their children's hearing, but finding more reliable communication in sign language. Pilgrimage, as a metaphor for the journeys described by participants, helps us understand families' realizations that the biomedical options most commonly available in Mexico City were of limited efficacy, and reveals collective desire for alternatives to these options...
November 23, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Mounia El Kotni
The institutionalization of Mexican midwifery has a long history. Despite global recommendations moving away from training traditional midwives, training courses still continue. Based on fieldwork in the State of Chiapas, I argue that while ongoing trainings offered to traditional midwives in Mexico aim at teaching them best practices, they also limit midwives' autonomy and keep poor women's reproductive behaviors under control. I demonstrate how midwives and medical personnel mobilize discourses of reproductive risk, women's rights and indigenous cultural rights to reinforce or contest mechanisms of reproductive governance...
November 21, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Elly Teman
Analyzing interviews with 20 Jewish-Israeli gestational surrogates who gave birth in 2014-2016, I examine the common narrative structure of their personal stories and the way that this becomes what Adichie calls a "single story". This idealized, romanticized, utopian story includes: 1. an intimate bond between surrogate and intended parents; 2. an epic birth; 3. a happy ending, told publicly. After illustrating this structure, I present the consequences of this single story for surrogates whose experiences diverged from, yet were constantly compared to, the "perfect journey" narrative...
November 20, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Michelle Anne Parsons
Through the life of a global health project in a maternity hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan one indicator-intrapartum mortality-was taken to represent the quality of emergency obstetric care and was at the center of a struggle over project management. The indicator was also contested by Afghan clinicians, and so was adapted, in which process the relationship between the indicator and women's lives outside the hospital was made clear. As the indicator faltered, new possibilities for intervention emerged, although these were not fully realized...
November 20, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Arachu Castro, Virginia Savage
A human rights violation, obstetric violence encompasses numerous forms of mistreatment against women giving birth in health care facilities. Based on this framework, we conducted open-ended exit interviews with 43 women who had given birth at either one of the two largest public maternity hospitals in the Dominican Republic. Women's narratives revealed a contrast between scholarly definitions of obstetric violence and their own perceptions of receiving abusive care. Analyzing obstetric violence as a form of reproductive governance and the adaptive preference that ensues helps explain why most women accepted with endurance the poor quality of care that they received...
November 15, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Asha Persson, Angela Kelly-Hanku, Stephen Bell, Agnes Mek, Heather Worth, Richard Nake Trumb
The global ambition to "end AIDS" hinges on the universal uptake of HIV treatment-as-prevention and is undergirded by the assumption that biomedical technologies have consistent, predictable effects across highly diverse settings. But as anthropologists argue, such technologies are actively transformed by their local encounters, with various constitutive effects. How priority populations, such as HIV "serodiscordant" couples, negotiate treatment-as-prevention remains relatively unknown. We consider the "vibrant entanglements" that can shape couples' engagement with global biomedical technologies in the local context of Papua New Guinea (PNG)-a relatively uncharted biomedical landscape-and what we hope our current research in this setting will achieve...
November 15, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Fanny Chabrol
Ethnographic material dealing with the contemporary viral hepatitis B and C epidemics in Cameroon provide a window onto the acute constraints and shortcomings of hospital care for patients, families, and health care workers. Although viral hepatitis has long been an invisible epidemic in international and global public health regimes, in Cameroon, it is diagnosed, made visible, and felt as a financially daunting and feared disease. Building on Ann Stoler's framework of imperial ruins, I consider hepatitis as an iatrogenic disease, emerging from scarce and unsound hospital infrastructures, such as blood transfusion techniques, as well as colonial public health vaccination practices...
November 14, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Piyush Pushkar
Using Thompson's conceptualization of the moral economy, I describe how NHS activists in the UK utilize moral arguments to form alliances between different occupational groups, in a political battle against health care privatization, reflecting how a consciousness is being built upon solidarity and shared interests. In this context, professional duties of health care professionals are linked to the interests of all citizens. I explore how the deployment of professional ethics elides a moral hierarchy that may hinder the movement's egalitarian potential...
November 14, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Janina Kehr
In France, the treatment of migrant patients is haunted, but not overdetermined, by colonial practices of cultural essentialism and othering. Taking tuberculosis care in a public hospital as an example, I show how colonial hauntings surface in racialized patient-physician encounters and diagnostic practices. Colonial hauntings exist on two levels of awareness: on the level of the articulated, where physicians critique contemporary and historical politics toward immigrants, and on the level of the unarticulated, where, physicians - as they search to practice a caring medicine - unconsciously reproduce colonial forms of knowing and treating migrant patients as racialized others...
November 1, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Fouzieyha Towghi
In Balochistan, Pakistan, hospitals are not the desired location for childbirth, but an affective economy of obstetric care, deceit, and clinical tactics of control has emerged, redirecting women away from midwives toward biomedical obstetrics. This economy manifests in forms such as coercing expectant mothers to deliver in the clinic rather than the home by generating fear in them and their kin through a narrative of imminent maternal and child harm. Drawing from ethnographic research, I show why Baloch midwives' ethical expertise and affective responses to iatrogenically induced emergencies haunt the postcolonial state and constrain biomedicine's haunting expectations of hospital/clinical births...
October 12, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Lynn M Morgan
The Costa Rican Constitutional Court banned in vitro fertilization in 2000, citing the inviolability of life. Conservatives hoped the ban would initiate a hemispheric movement to protect the unborn. But in 2012 the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that reproductive rights are human rights and that women's rights take precedence over embryo rights. The episode precipitated a national identity crisis: how could a country that supports universal health care be labeled a human rights violator as a result of its efforts to protect nascent human life? Expanding the health and human rights framework helps us appreciate how IVF became Costa Rica's human rights crucible...
October 9, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Hayley MacGregor
At the turn of the millennium, people with mental disturbance often lived in circumstances of economic marginalization in South Africa. The historical material of one low-income urban area reveals the place of kin relations and reciprocity in enabling negotiation of a more fluid set of responses to mental illness. In this sociocultural context, "stigma" was not an inevitable reaction to mental illness, and a more complex set of social dynamics could mitigate marginalization. Research on how changing informal care practices relate to state-based community care continues to be important to inform contemporary health reforms...
October 9, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Emma Varley, Saiba Varma
In this article, we trace encounters between humans and phantasmic entities in hospitals in Indian-occupied and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. In Pakistan, the presence of spectral beings (jinni) in hospitals is linked to state and sectarian violence, which precipitates ruptures between jinni and human worlds. Such breaches permit jinni to manifest in the medical present, where insecure actors harness them to ventriloquize unspoken anxieties. In Indian-occupied Kashmir, jinn-like, chronically mentally ill patients haunt psychiatric modernization projects...
October 8, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Shir Lerman
Puerto Rico's politically liminal status as a US territory has dire consequences for Puerto Rico's economy: the island does not receive the same funding as states for health insurance. In addition, Puerto Rico's unraveling health care system, coupled with the island's high poverty rate and the medical brain drain, interact. I weave my research on depression into this article as an example of the ways in which political and economic factors aggravate disease.
September 24, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Jessaca B Leinaweaver
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
October 2018: Medical Anthropology
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