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Medical Anthropology Quarterly

Andrew McDowell
This article re-examines medical anthropology theories of symptom, illness, and disease to consider unregulated medical care in India. It builds on clinical observations, an inventory of the pharmaceuticals used by men who call themselves Bengali Doctors, and their patients to read medical care in a context that privileges symptom not disease. It draws on Derrida's use of pharmakon to outline the complexities of care and embodiment and helps locate local and medical anthropology theories of symptom and pharmaceuticals within theories of the experiential body...
October 3, 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Rosalynn Adeline Vega
This article examines the humanized birth movement in Mexico and analyzes how the remaking anew of tradition-the return to "traditional" birthing arts (home birth, midwife-assisted birth, "natural" birth)- inadvertently reinscribes racial "hierarchies." The great irony of the humanized birth movement lies in parents' perspective of themselves as critics of late capitalism; all the while, their very rejection of consumerism bolsters ongoing commodification of "indigenous culture" and collapses "indigeneity," "nature," and "tradition" onto one another...
September 26, 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Bo Kyeong Seo
For transnational migrant populations, securing birth documents of newly born children has crucial importance in avoiding statelessness for new generations. Drawing on discussions of sovereignty and political subjectivization, I ask how the fact of birth is constituted in the context of transnational migration. Based on ethnographic data collected from an antenatal clinic in Thailand, this article describes how Shan migrant women from Burma (Myanmar) utilize reproductive health services as a way of assuring a safe birth while acquiring identification documents...
September 26, 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Emily Mannix Wanderer
In the aftermath of the 2009 outbreak of H1N1 influenza, scientists in Mexico sought to develop bioseguridad, that is, to protect biological life in Mexico by safely conducting research on infectious disease. Drawing on ethnographic research in laboratories and with scientists in Mexico, I look at how scientists make claims about local differences in regulations, infrastructure, bodies, and culture. The scientists working with infectious microbes sought to establish how different microbial ecologies, human immune systems, and political and regulatory systems made the risks of research different in Mexico from other countries...
September 14, 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Casey James Miller
Drawing on 17 months of ethnographic fieldwork (2007-2011), this article critically examines the consequences of two global health initiatives (GHIs), the Global Fund and the Gates Foundation, on NGOs engaged in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment among gay men in northwest China. I argue that a short-term surge in funding provided by GHIs between 2008 and 2010 exacerbated preexisting conflicts between NGOs by promoting a neoliberal process in which the state outsourced public health services to civil society organizations, deliberately encouraging a climate of competition among NGOs...
September 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Neely Anne Laurenzo Myers, Tali Ziv
Our article draws on ethnographic research with African American males diagnosed with a psychotic disorder in a high-poverty urban area of the northeastern United States. Our participants frequently described the ways public mental health services led them to experience a paralyzing erosion of autobiographical power, which we define as the ability to tell one's own story and be the editor of one's own life. We identified three important points when the loss of autobiographical power seemed to perpetuate social defeat or a sense of social powerlessness (Luhrmann 2007) for our participants during their interactions with public mental health care...
September 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Anette Wickström
Orthodontics offer young people the chance to improve their bite and adjust their appearances. The most common reasons for orthodontic treatment concern general dentists', parents' or children's dissatisfaction with the esthetics of the bite. My aim is to analyze how esthetic norms are used during three activities preceding possible treatment with fixed appliances. The evaluation indexes signal definitiveness and are the essential grounds for decision-making. In parallel, practitioners and patients refer to self-perceived satisfaction with appearances...
September 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Svea Closser, Anat Rosenthal, Kenneth Maes, Judith Justice, Kelly Cox, Patricia A Omidian, Ismaila Zango Mohammed, Aminu Mohammed Dukku, Adam D Koon, Laetitia Nyirazinyoye
Many of medical anthropology's most pressing research questions require an understanding how infections, money, and ideas move around the globe. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is a $9 billion project that has delivered 20 billion doses of oral polio vaccine in campaigns across the world. With its array of global activities, it cannot be comprehensively explored by the traditional anthropological method of research at one field site. This article describes an ethnographic study of the GPEI, a collaborative effort between researchers at eight sites in seven countries...
September 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Jennie Gamlin
Every year, around two thousand Huichol families migrate from their homelands in the highlands of northwestern Mexico to the coastal region of Nayarit State, where they are employed on small plantations to pick and thread tobacco leaves. During their four-month stay, they live, work, eat, and sleep in the open air next to the tobacco fields, exposing themselves to an unknown cocktail of pesticides all day, every day. In this article, I describe how these indigenous migrants are more at risk to pesticides because historical and contemporary structural factors ensure that they live and work in the way of harm...
September 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Anja M B Jensen
Based on anthropological fieldwork among Danish organ donor families and hospital staff in neurointensive care units, this article explores the transformative practices of hope in Danish organ donation. Focusing on various phases of the organ donation process, I demonstrate how families and professionals practice hope in astounding ways: when hoping for organs, when hoping for the end of patient suffering, when hoping for the usability of the donor body, and when hoping to help future donor families by sharing painful experiences...
September 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Asha Persson, Christy E Newman, Limin Mao, John de Wit
With the expanding pharmaceuticalization of public health, anthropologists have begun to examine how biomedicine's promissory discourses of normalization and demarginalization give rise to new practices of and criteria for citizenship. Much of this work focuses on the biomedicine-citizenship nexus in less-developed, resource-poor contexts. But how do we understand this relationship in resource-rich settings where medicines are readily available, often affordable, and a highly commonplace response to illness? In particular, what does it mean to not use pharmaceuticals for a treatable infectious disease in this context? We are interested in these questions in relation to the recent push for early and universal treatment for HIV infection in Australia for the twin purposes of individual and community health...
September 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Başak Can
State authorities invested in developing official expert discourses and practices to deny torture in post-1980 coup d'état Turkey. Documentation of torture was therefore crucial for the incipient human rights movement there in the 1980s. Human rights physicians used their expertise not only to treat torture victims but also to document torture and eventually found the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) in 1990. Drawing on an ethnographic and archival research at the HRFT, this article examines the genealogy of anti-torture struggles in Turkey and argues that locally mediated intimacies and/or hostilities between victims of state violence, human rights physicians, and official forensics reveal the limitations of certain universal humanitarian and human rights principles...
September 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
April Driesslein
Previous research on pregnancy and birth from the perspective of men has found that men approach them from the perspective of hegemonic masculinity, though many find that hospital birth is a time of potential 'failure' at masculinity. In this qualitative study of eleven men who had children born at home, I find that, like their hospital-birth counterparts, they find roles in their partners' pregnancies and early labors that are congruent with hegemonic masculinity. In ways that converge and diverge with the experience of hospital-birth fathers, they find their masculinity disrupted as the birth approaches, becoming nurturers and servers rather than technicians and protectors...
August 31, 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Brandon A Kohrt, Christine Bourey
Our objective was to elucidate how culture influences internal (psychological), external (social), institutional (structural), and health care (medical) processes, which, taken together, create differential risk of comorbidity across contexts. To develop a conceptual model, we conducted qualitative research with 13 female child soldiers in Nepal. Participants gave open-ended responses to intimate partner violence (IPV) vignettes (marital rape, emotional abuse, violence during pregnancy). Twelve participants (92%) endorsed personal responses (remaining silent, enduring violence, forgiving the husband)...
August 25, 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Lesley Weaver
In the mid-20th century, René Dubos criticized the biomedical community for what he called "The Doctrine of Singular Etiology": a powerful and pervasive axiom that reduced the disease process to a single cause for a single magic bullet (1959). As an alternative, Dubos called for a more ecological approach to human disease that recognized multiple, interacting factors that could either increase or reduce the risk and severity of noncontagious as well as contagious diseases. Although Dubos's writings were (and continue to be) well received, his critique had little impact on the epistemology of biomedicine or public health at the time...
August 24, 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Samuel Taylor-Alexander
Plastic surgeons around the globe are implementing projects that mix audit with medical research to ensure and improve the level of care offered to patients with cleft lip and palate. Drawing on recent literature on "audit culture" and the global growth of "performance indicators" as a form of governance, I demonstrate the conjugation of ethics and the production of numerical indicators in cleft treatment. By standardizing documentation, cleft treatment audit programs facilitate Evidence Based Medicine and a form of reflexive self-governance...
August 23, 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Matthew J Wolf-Meyer
In 1987, Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Margaret Lock proposed "three bodies" to think through biomedicine and the kinds of subjects it produces. In the current article, I revise their theory of three bodies in two ways: first, I suggest that the three bodies are a scaling process, which allows medical governance to manage bodies across scales, from the individual to the group; second, I add two new levels of scalar analysis, the molecular and the microbial, in an attempt to flesh out the three bodies based on contemporary medical practice, including pharmaceuticalization and therapeutic to the microbiome...
July 30, 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
(no author information available yet)
We argue that changes over time in how ideas of stress are incorporated into understandings of pregnancy and motherhood among Mexican immigrant women living in the United States may affect the documented increase in low birth weight infants born to those women. Stress has consistently been linked to low birth weight, and pregnant Mexican American and Mexican immigrant women differ in levels of perceived social stress. What remains is an explanation for these differences. We utilize a subset of 36 ethnographic interviews with pregnant immigrant women from northern Mexico and Mexican Americans to demonstrate how meanings of pregnancy and motherhood increasingly integrate notions of stress the longer immigrant Mexican women live in the United States...
July 25, 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Emily Wentzell
While medical research ethics guidelines frame participants as individual and autonomous, anthropologists emphasize the relational nature of health research participation. I analyze interviews with Mexican male HPV study participants and their wives to examine how research participants themselves focus on relationships when imagining research-related benefits. I argue that couples incorporated the local trope of the Mexican citizenry as a biologically homogeneous national body, which individual members help or harm through their gendered health behavior to understand these benefits...
July 22, 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Elyse Ona Singer
Building on medical anthropology literature that analyzes doctor-patient interactions as a charged site for the production of political subjectivities, I demonstrate how a central feature of Mexico City's new public abortion program involves "responsibilization." In accordance with entrenched Ministry of Health objectives, providers transmit a suite of values about personal responsibility and self-regulation through birth control use, hinging abortion rights to responsible reproductive subjectivity. Based on eighteen months of ethnographic research across program clinics, including seventy-five interviews with patients and providers, I show how ILE protocols fashion "responsibilized" liberal subjects...
July 6, 2016: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
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