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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
John Gardner, Narelle Warren, Paul H Mason, Juan F Dominguez D
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
April 11, 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
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
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
Trudie Gerrits
In this article, I address reproductive travel to Ghana, based on research conducted in two private fertility clinics. Both clinics attract clients from West African countries as well as Ghanaian people living in the US and Europe. Their motivations to visit these clinics include positive "testimonies" about treatment results, "bioavailability" of matching donor material and surrogates, lower treatment costs and the circumvention of restricting regulations in the country of residence. Communication technologies are central in facilitating reproductive travel...
January 15, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Tanya Zivkovic, Megan Warin, Vivienne Moore, Paul Ward, Michelle Jones
By foregrounding positive and productive capacities of fat, we explore experiences of expanding, maintaining, or diminishing body sizes to accommodate the different meanings and enactments of fat. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in a South Australian community that has experienced significant socioeconomic disadvantage, we detail how the "problem" of fat in public health discourse is countered in the lived experience of people targeted for obesity intervention. In so doing, we attend to the multiple meanings and practices of fat that differ to the focus within public health interventions on the negative health consequences of overweight and obesity...
January 10, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Chris Lyttleton
Global health security is increasingly reliant on vigilance to provide early warning of transnational health threats. In theory, this approach requires that sentinels, based in communities most affected by new or reemerging infectious diseases, deliver timely alerts of incipient risk. Medicalizing global safety also implies there are particular forms of insecurity that must be remedied to preempt disease spread. I examine vigilance in the context of spreading drug-resistant malaria in Southeast Asian border zones and argue that to act as sentinels, marginal groups vulnerable to infection must be able to articulate what social and behavioral factors prompt proliferating disease risks...
January 10, 2018: Medical Anthropology
Casey Golomski
This article shows how age as a category of dependency upends popular consciousness about race and class within postcolonial health systems. White individuals working within South Africa's private health insurance (medical aid) market and allied fields face a conundrum with respect to elder care. Some policies accommodate older adults' needs, but being older is costly and long-term residential care is excluded. Critically, these workers' position as middle- and upper-class enables them to pity older, poorer whites and blacks who more often use a dysfunctional public health sector, yet the elder care gap and other limitations reveal that these workers' own class position is also tenuous...
December 19, 2017: Medical Anthropology
Daniel Kashnitsky, Ekaterina Demintseva
Social isolation limits migrants' access to health care, providing the context for the emergence of migrants' own medical infrastructure. In this article, we explore the so-called Kyrgyz clinics, private medical centers in Moscow founded by doctors from Kyrgyzstan and targeted specifically for labor migrants from Central Asian countries, particularly Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. These Kyrgyz clinics both provide affordable medical services and enable migrant doctors to guide migrant patients through Russia's medical infrastructure, in the context of limited resources, lack of health insurance, low awareness of available services, and other barriers to care...
December 19, 2017: Medical Anthropology
Linda Rae Bennett, Bregje de Kok
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 19, 2017: Medical Anthropology
Linda Rae Bennett
When combined, primary and secondary infertility affects up to 21 percent of Indonesian couples. Based on ethnographic fieldwork with married heterosexual couples, I explore how intra-family adoption represents a culturally and religiously acceptable pathway to family formation for couples without access to assisted reproductive technologies. I examine how kinship is central to the negotiation of adoption, and to maintaining ethnic and religious continuity within adoptive families. I reveal how adoption can enable infertile women and birth mothers to achieve or escape the dominant expectations of heteronormativity, and discuss intra-family adoption by infertile couples in relation to reproductive stratification and leveling...
November 28, 2017: Medical Anthropology
Jeannette Pols, Brigitte Althoff, Els Bransen
In the Netherlands, autonomy is a key ideal in visions of care for people with learning disability. This ideal can lead to tension when clients, in the opinion of their caregivers, overuse alcohol or drugs. In this article, we analyze how professional caregivers understand the ideal of autonomy in care for people with learning disability, and articulate the tacit attempts of caregivers to provide "good care," which can be understood as care for relationships. This relational view includes caregivers, care recipients, and their networks and infrastructures in the vision of care...
November 2017: Medical Anthropology
Chelsea Cormier McSwiggin
In the United States, HIV is rendered a chronic condition, and viral transmission is minimized through strict adherence to pharmaceutical treatment. Treatment reduces viral loads to untraceable levels in the blood, a status known as "undetectable," as determined by laboratory testing. For Haitians living with HIV in South Florida, "undetectable" has become more than a viral status; it is a means to know and govern themselves as moral actors and to survey and stigmatize others who remain "detectable...
November 2017: Medical Anthropology
Jessica S Ruthven
Funding in South Africa privileges HIV prevention campaigns underpinned by individual behavior change goals, despite over two decades of intervention but little reduction in national HIV prevalence. In response, civil society has begun calling for innovative interventions and ways of speaking about the epidemic. Employing framing theory, I analyze differences in how HIV/AIDS is characterized in public media and interrogate the knowledge politics underpinning a group of artists' emerging attention to the nexus of affect, intersubjectivity, and epidemics within performance...
November 2017: Medical Anthropology
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