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Medical Anthropology

Elyse Ona Singer
I analyze the alternative tactics and logics of Las Fuertes, a feminist organization that has taken an "alegal" approach to realizing the human right to abortion in the conservative Mexican state of Guanajuato. Since a series of United Nations agreements throughout the 1990s enshrined reproductive rights as universal human rights, Mexican feminists have adopted the human rights platform as a lobbying tool to pressure the government to reform restrictive abortion laws. This strategy bore fruit in Mexico City, with passage of the historic 2007 abortion legalization...
June 20, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Jaroslav Klepal, Tereza Stöckelová
Drawing on fieldwork in the postsocialist Czech Republic, we explore the transformative processes of biomedicalization, both within and in relation to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). We argue that it would be simplistic to understand evidence of these processes in CAM as a sign that CAM has fallen prey to biomedicine. Instead, we show how particular CAM practices play a groundbreaking role in shaping developments in contemporary health care. In this respect, we question the utility of the concept of biomedicalization, arguing that it reduces the transformative processes to aspects of biomedicine...
June 20, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Hannah S Bell, Funmi Odumosu, Anna C Martinez-Hume, Heather A Howard, Linda M Hunt
Racial/ethnic identity is contingent and arbitrary, yet it is commonly used to evaluate disease risk and treatment response. Drawing on open-ended interviews with patients and clinicians in two US clinics, we explore how racialized risk is conceptualized and how it impacts patient care and experience. We found that racial/ethnic risk was a common but poorly defined construct for both patients and clinicians, who intermingled concepts of genetics, biology, behavior, and culture, while disregarding historical or structural context...
June 18, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Iben M Gjødsbøl, Mette N Svendsen
How do time and personhood become related when dementia sets in? This article brings together ethnographies from a memory clinic and a dementia nursing home in Copenhagen, Denmark, pursuing how personhood and time become intertwined across early and late-stage dementia. In the memory clinic, the dementia diagnosis is enacted and experienced simultaneously as an indispensable prophecy of discontinuity of personhood and life for the patients, and as a prognosis that renders the future indeterminate and open to intervention...
May 15, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Sebastian J Moser
The increase of dementia makes cognitive disorder a global challenge. Even if wandering is not a symptom of dementia in general, professionals and scientists dominate the definition of wandering as an aimless movement of people with cognitive impairment, mainly dementia. In consequence, professional types of wandering management were elaborated trying to avoid or replace it. However, this can cause negative effects. The article analyses an apparently common informal type of wandering management. It consists of slipping an address paper in the wallet of the ill person...
May 14, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Justin Dixon, Michèle Tameris
During ethnographic research at a tuberculosis vaccine trial site in South Africa, trial participants often evoked the idiom of "clean blood." In this article, we illustrate how the trials enacted a form of moral triage in which "objective" bioscientific knowledge and moral subjectivity were coproduced. Participation created possibilities to demonstrate healthiness, respectability, and godliness in a context where positive self-imaginings were hard won, but could also lead to dejection and shame...
May 10, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Lotte Buch Segal
Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Denmark, primarily among Iraqi women and secondarily among Iraqi men who are either direct or indirect victims of torture, I explore how the memories of torture are distributed in the everyday lives of Danish families originating from Iraq. I argue that torture is folded into kin histories and the everyday work of bearing and resisting painful memories. Consequently, torture affects not only the mental and physical health of the singular survivor, but also the entire texture of kin relatedness around him or her, to the extent that kinship normativity may be disrupted...
May 10, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Ben Belek
Drawing on ethnographic evidence from several communities of autistic adults in the UK, I explore the crucial role of the body and the senses in the enactment of autistic subjectivities. Following their initiation into autism-related social groups, members begin using such concepts as triggers, overload, shutdown, and meltdown to refer to their bodily experiences of distress. They then face the task of investing these ambiguous concepts with meaning, through nurturing an increased awareness to their body's relationship with its material surrounding...
May 4, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Amy Krauss
Feminist health care providers have debated the efficacy of the decriminalization of abortion in Mexico City. Luisa, a counselor in a private clinic, suggested that while the law has expanded the visibility of, and access to safe abortion, it has also called forth "other ghosts." In this article, I take Luisa's critical perspective as a starting point for examining ongoing criminalization and moral stigma as forms of haunting that arise in the wake of the Mexico City abortion policy. Drawing on ethnographic research, I explore how Luisa's ghosts materialize in the embodied- affective relations between patients in new legal clinics...
April 25, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Benjamin N Lawrance
Chronic and acute illnesses sit uncomfortably with asylum claiming and refugee mobilities. The story of a Sierra Leonean, an athlete who feared Ebola and sought refuge in the UK, provides an opening to examine protection discourses that invoke fear, trauma, and crisis metaphors, to understand how asylum claims are performed, and how related petitions are adjudicated during public health emergencies of international concern. Ebola is revealed as a novel claim strategy, and thus a useful subject matter to investigate the shifting modalities of migrant agency, the unstable fabric of medical humanitarianism, and knowledge production in moments of exceptionality...
April 20, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Branwyn Poleykett
What were the dead to colonial epidemiologists? Doctors and colonial scientists involved in the response to epidemics of plague in Madagascar in the first half of the twentieth century speculated about the role of Malagasy mortuary ritual in the spread of plague, and sought to bring Malagasy ritual into line with Pasteurian hygienic norms. I examine confrontations over death and the management of the dead in Madagascar, tracing the textured form of epidemiological knowledge that arose from the confrontation between Malagasy cosmology and Pasteurian counter epidemic technique...
April 12, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Tine M Gammeltoft
In this article I propose the notion of domestic mood as an important concept for mental health research. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted among women living in Hanoi, Vietnam, I explore the maternal mental health problems that the women reported, focusing particularly on the household tensions and conflicts that made the entry into motherhood a distressful experience. To develop the concept of domestic mood, I draw on Martin Heidegger's work, particularly his claim that human being is always a being-with...
April 10, 2018: Medical Anthropology
John Gardner, Narelle Warren, Paul H Mason, Juan F Dominguez D
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
April 2018: Medical Anthropology
Claire Snell-Rood, Richard Merkel, Nancy Schoenberg
Kinship processes contribute to the experience and interpretation of depression-generating empathy as well as silencing. We explore intersubjective experiences of depression among kin with the aim of understanding how depression can reveal kinship expectations and evolving concepts of distress. In interviews with 28 low-income rural Appalachian women about their depression, participants articulated depression as a social process that neither starts nor ends in themselves. Yet kinship obligations to recognize family members' depression limited women's ability to admit distress, let alone request care...
March 20, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Inês Faria
In Mozambique, involuntary childlessness triggers immediate treatment seeking, especially on the woman's side. Treatment processes involve the activation and/or creation of situational social networks that provide emotional, instrumental, and informational support. These are formed through careful processes of disclosure management, and are embedded in social relations and local moral configurations of family making, reproduction, and healing. In this article I explore social networks involving friends, family, religion, and emerging biosocial relations, some or all of which are involved in Mozambican women's and couples' therapeutic navigations in the quest for fertility...
February 15, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Bronwen Lichtenstein, Towanda Pettway, Joe Weber
Tuberculosis Bacilli (TB) is a global scourge that affects poor people and regions. Drawing on Farmer's (2003) pathologies of power, and a case study approach, we examine the sociostructural landscape of a fatal outbreak of Sharecropper's TB among African Americans in rural Alabama. In a mixed-method qualitative approach involving oral history, surveys, interviews and documentary analysis, we identified three pathologies that contribute to TB susceptibility: corporate power, land wealth, and structural racism...
February 6, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Diana Marre, Beatriz San Román, Diana Guerra
Spain's plummeting fertility since the late twentieth century may seem to reflect a waning desire for children. Nevertheless, reproductive disappointments resulting from gender inequalities cause many Spanish women to postpone motherhood and experience age-related fertility problems. For them, creating a family often becomes possible only through the reproductive labor of other women. Our analysis of transnational adoption, egg donation, and surrogacy in Spain shows how anonymity and altruism play out in these three strategies, with implications for the valuation of women's reproductive work and relationships among reproductive providers, intermediaries, recipients, and the resulting children...
February 2018: Medical Anthropology
Carolyn Smith-Morris
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 24, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Shana D Hughes, Nicolas Sheon, Erin V W Andrew, Stephanie E Cohen, Susanne Doblecki-Lewis, Albert Y Liu
Although pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has dramatically impacted HIV prevention, deep engagement with PrEP-takers' own accounts of their sexual behavior is still rare. We report findings from semi-structured interviews with male participants of the US PrEP Demonstration Project. In their narratives, interviewees variously foregrounded their individual selves, interactions with sexual partners, and the biopolitical and historical context of their lives. PrEP served to discursively integrate the multiple selves populating these stories...
January 19, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Carolyn Smith-Morris, George H Bresnick, Jorge Cuadros, Kathryn E Bouskill, Elin Rønby Pedersen
Vision loss from diabetic retinopathy should be unnecessary for patients with access to diabetic retinopathy screening, yet it still occurs at high rates and in varied contexts. Precisely because vision loss is only one of many late-stage complications of diabetes, interfering with the management of diabetes and making self-care more difficult, Vision Threatening Diabetic Retinopathy (VTDR) is considered a "high stakes" diagnosis. Our mixed-methods research addressed the contexts of care and treatment seeking in a sample of people with VTDR using safety-net clinic services and eye specialist referrals...
January 17, 2018: Medical Anthropology
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