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Anthropology & Medicine

Alison Heller, Anita Hannig
Obstetric fistula, a maternal childbirth injury that results in chronic incontinence, affects an estimated one million women in the global south. In the course of media and donor coverage on this condition, fistula sufferers have been branded as 'child brides' who, following the onset of their incontinence, become social pariahs and eventually find physical and social redemption through surgical repair. This narrative framing pits the violence of 'culture' against the potency of biomedical salvation. Based on over two years of ethnographic research at fistula repair centres in Niger and Ethiopia, this paper challenges this narrative and argues that most women with obstetric fistula remain embedded in social relations, receive continued familial support, and, unexpectedly, experience ambiguous surgical outcomes...
January 31, 2017: Anthropology & Medicine
Sada Mire
The paper introduces the Baanashada Dumarka, a Somali fertility therapy carried out by a spirit medium, known locally as 'Alaqad. Baanashada is aimed at women whose fertility issues are believed to be caused by spirits. The study also explores a component of the Baanashada, namely, the use of tiire (Rotheca myricoides), or the butterfly bush. Although Rotheca myricoides is known to possess a number of medicinal components as confirmed by studies of modern science, so far, there exist no studies on its potential (or lack of) fertility effects...
December 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
Sarah Burgess
On paper, Niger's maternal healthcare system is extensively outlined by policies which assure access to certain services and create hierarchical referral chains. In practice it remains intensely improvisational: actors in the system must frequently make up the next steps to giving and receiving care, often outside the existing policies and procedures. Although population health in Niger has improved since the recently enacted gratuité des soins policy (which guarantees free access to certain material and child health services), care on the ground is still dictated by difficult circumstances and scarce resources...
December 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
Paul H Mason
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
Erica Borgstrom
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
Isabelle Coutant
A 2005 report from the French Institute for Medical Research highlighted factors likely to prompt 'behavioural problems' in children and adolescents, and recommended early identification of at-risk families. A number of mental health professionals rose up against such medicalisation of social issues. This ethnographic study was conducted in this climate, in a psychiatric unit, located in a disadvantaged area in the outskirts of Paris, that specialises in adolescents with such problems. The research emphasised how professionals resist being instrumentalised by juvenile counselling services and the justice system, the observed practices bearing traces of critiques of psychiatric institutions since the 1960s...
December 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
Maria Esther Epele
Based on ethnographic research carried out in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area, this paper examines the views of social actors on the psychoanalytically-oriented psychotherapy focused on marginalized populations. From Foucault's perspective on the forms of truth-telling, the aim of this paper is to analyze, as a preliminary research report, treatments according to the native ways of speaking and listening, which dominate the description of therapeutic experiences of patients who come to the treatment without any professional intermediation...
December 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
Giorgio Brocco
Societal ideas and explanations of albinism at the local level in Tanzania are conceived in terms of family history, social relations, economic status, moral-religious positions, global-local flows of information and humanitarian actions on behalf of people with the congenital condition. This paper aims to show how the subjectivities of people with albinism in Tanzania are shaped and re-shaped through local moral conceptions as well as globalizing (bio)medical explanations of albinism. An exemplary case study of a 28-year-old woman, plus episodes from the lives of seven other informants with the condition, are analyzed in order to understand, on the one hand, local social relationships between people with albinism and other individuals in family and community settings, and on the other hand, the interconnections between persons with albinism and global humanitarian actors and the broadcast media...
December 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
Sarah A Williams
Reducing the maternal mortality rate (MMR) is an important part of Mexico's commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, and the country has made great strides towards achieving this goal. However, researchers have questioned to what extent the focus on improved MMR and other indices of maternal health has contributed to an emphasis on improved statistics rather than quality care, and the effect this has had on the quality of reporting. While public health officials and hospital administrators alike agree that improved obstetric reporting is necessary, there is little discussion regarding the accuracy of the data that are submitted and the institutional pressures that may contribute to the production of inaccurate data...
December 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
Emily Mendenhall, H Stowe McMurry, Roopa Shivashankar, K M Venkat Narayan, Nikhil Tandon, Dorairaj Prabhakaran
The Type 2 diabetes epidemic in India poses challenges to the health system. Yet little is known about how urban Indians view treatment and self-care. Such views are important within the pluralistic healthcare landscape of India, bringing together allopathic and non-allopathic (or traditional) paradigms and practices. We used in-depth qualitative interviews to examine how people living with diabetes in India selectively engage with allopathic and non-allopathic Indian care paradigms. We propose a 'discourse marketplace' model that demonstrates competing ways in which people frame diabetes care-seeking in India's medical pluralism, which includes allopathic and traditional systems of care...
December 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
Chithprabha Kudlu
Ethnographic inquiry into Ayurvedic commodification in Kerala revealed the prevalence of a distinct regional pharmaceutical market dominated by physician-manufacturers, oriented towards supplying classical medicines to Ayurvedic doctors. This stands in sharp contrast to mainstream Ayurveda that is observed to have undergone biomedicalization and pharmaceuticalization. This paper argues that Kerala's classical-medicine-centric pharmaceutical market constitutes an alternative modernity because it provided Kerala Ayurveda with a different route to modernization impervious to the biomedical regime, as well as endowing it with the institutional power to safeguard its regional identity...
December 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
Torsten Risør
Clinical decision-making (CDM) is key in learning to be a doctor as the defining activity in their clinical work. CDM is often portrayed in the literature as similar to 'trail blazing'; the doctor as the core agent, clearing away obstacles on the path towards diagnosis and treatment. However, in a fieldwork of young doctors in Denmark, it was difficult connect their practice to this image. This paper presents the exploration of this discrepancy in the heart of medical practice and how an alternative image emerged; that of a 'jam session'...
November 17, 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
James Davies
This paper examines how Task Force votes were central to the development of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III and DSM-III-R). Data were obtained through a literature review, investigation of DSM archival material housed at the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and interviews with key Task Force members of DSM-III and DSM-III-R. Such data indicate that Task Force votes played a central role in the making of DSM-III, from establishing diagnostic criteria and diagnostic definitions to settling questions about the inclusion or removal of diagnostic categories...
September 21, 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
Danuta Penkala-Gawęcka, Małgorzata Rajtar
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
August 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
Roland Littlewood
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
August 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
Iwona Kołodziejska-Degórska
Village dwellers in Central Ukraine have access to various types of therapy that comprise diverse medical landscapes. Patients' movements within these landscapes are possible thanks to each person's web of relations. Medical landscapes are not fixed, but vary and dynamically change for each person, depending on their fluid and interchanging, hierarchical webs of mutual relations with other people, personal bodies, institutions, discourses, political powers, other non-human organisms, or objects such as medicines...
August 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
Monika Kujawska
The paper addresses forms of medical pluralism, studied from the microsocial perspective, among the Polish community in Misiones, Argentina. It shows different attitudes to health treatment within the field of home medicine, local non-biomedical specialists and biomedicine. It points out the relationship between the diversity of offers of medical assistance and community members' negotiations between various medical approaches. It also identifies the factors influencing these choices. While prior research examines Indigenous and Mestizo medical ethnobotany in this region, there has not been research on medical pluralism and very little study of complementary and alternative medicine among the inhabitants of Misiones...
August 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
Deborah Menezes
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
August 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
Danuta Penkala-Gawęcka
This paper introduces the notion of 'risky encounters', referring to the way in which contacts with doctors are commonly perceived by the inhabitants of Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan. The author's research conducted between 2011 and 2013 revealed that most people were extremely critical of biomedical personnel, despite positive assessments of healthcare reforms expressed by experts. Owing to the prevailing distrust of doctors, their interventions are often considered risky to one's health, which strongly influences people's health-related strategies in the context of medical diversity...
August 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
Małgorzata Rajtar
Blood transfusions belong to standard and commonly utilised biomedical procedures. Jehovah's Witnesses' transfusion refusals are often referred to in bioethical and medical textbooks. Members of this globally active religious organisation do not, however, challenge biomedical diagnosis and treatment as such. A result of both their trust in and their interpretation of the Bible, they question only this medical treatment. In spite of the global presence of this religious community and its uniformly practised teachings, including those pertaining to blood, experiences and choices of Jehovah's Witness patients have been understudied...
August 2016: Anthropology & Medicine
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