Volume 34 (2020) RSS feed for this section

Reworking the Social Determinants of Health: Responding to Material-Semiotic Indeterminacy in Public Health Interventions

Emily Yates-Doerr | https://doi.org/10.1111/maq.12586 Corn dries in the highlands of Guatemala. In the background you can see packaging from USAID nutrition supplements, which has been repurposed into insulation. The Trump administration ended financial support for the supplemental nutrition program abruptly last year, but evidence of the program remains.Photo by Emily Yates-Doerr Both public health experts and medical anthropologists […]

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Veteran Therapeutics: The Promise of Military Medicine and the Possibilities of Disability in the Post-9/11 United States

Zoë Wool | https://doi.org/10.1111/maq.12577 This article draws on a decade of ethnographic work with injured U.S. soldiers and veterans to show the collateral effects of military medicine’s salvific promise. In tracing these effects through recent changes in amputation protocols and less spectacular conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder, I show that the prevalent model of […]

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Weak Data: The Social Biography of a Measurement Instrument and How It Failed to Ensure Accountability in Home Care

Klaus Hoeyer and Malene Bødker | https://doi.org/10.1111/maq.12602 The new prominence of data in Danish public governance reveals itself also in its use in the public space. In various municipalities in Denmark, you see either murals like the one above stating ‘All data to the people’, or the campaigns flash numbers from the municipality registers such […]

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Experimental Entanglements: Surveillance Science, Sex Worker Activism, and Evidentiary Politics in Kenya

Robert Lorway | https://doi.org/10.1111/maq.12593 Community-run drop-in centre wall colored by progress charts tracking outcomes of an HIV care program Photo by Robert Lorway In Kenya, globally circulating HIV surveillance techniques are implicated in an emergent experimental terrain that merges scientific interest with health administration agendas. Sex worker activists reroute and repurpose this technocratic knowledge to more […]

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Epidemiological Imaginaries of the Social: Epidemiologists and Pathologies of Modernization in Postcolonial Africa

David Reubi | https://doi.org/10.1111/maq.12609 Headquarters of the Gates-funded Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa on the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda Photo by David Reubi There is a growing anthropological literature analyzing the place that epidemiological surveillance occupies in contemporary global health. In this article, I build on this literature and take it into new directions by […]

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“Making Moves” in a Cardiac ICU: An Epistemology of Rhythm, Data Richness, and Process Certainty

Scott Stonington | https://doi.org/10.1111/maq.12557 A Change in Heart,Photo by James Stenberg Ethnographers of clinical rationality often assume that the goal of biomedical practice is to eliminate uncertainty to produce definitive diagnoses. In this ethnography of an academic cardiac intensive care unit (CCU) in the United States, bodies are conceived instead as ever‐changing constellations of problems […]

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Health Care Quality Improvement and the Ambiguous Commodity of Care

Ethan Balgley Manelin | https://doi.org/10.1111/maq.12608 Exam Room Perch, Original artwork by Alexandra Hedberg, MD Quality of care has become a major concern of the U.S.’s health care system in recent decades thanks to an energetic social movement and, more recently, interest from health insurers. Ethnographic research at a primary care clinic engaged in an array […]

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Mobilizing Volume: Trauma, Surgical Skill, and Clinical Tourism in South India

Lily Shapiro | https://doi.org/10.1111/maq.12562 This article considers the ways in which the concept of volume is deployed to create and sustain surgical expertise. Drawing on research at a large plastic and orthopedic surgery hospital in Tamil Nadu, India, I explore the ways in which a steady supply of trauma is converted into medical expertise, reputation, […]

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Help-seekers, Callers and Clients: Embodied History in China’s Psy‐boom

Barclay Bram | https://doi.org/10.1111/maq.12578 Ms. Zhou, Ms. Liu, and Ms. Wen represent three generations of psychological counselors in China. They all work in Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan province. China is in the midst of what scholars call the “psy‐boom.” This is generally defined as the rapid rise in psychological services in the country. […]

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The Corruption Game: Health Systems, International Agencies, and the State in South Asia

Svea Closser | https://doi.org/10.1111/maq.12549 Sign painted on a government health post wall in Nepal.Photo by Svea Closser Drawing on ethnographic material collected in Pakistan, India, and Nepal, this article analyzes patterns of corruption in vaccination programs in South Asia. Corrupt practices—which required substantial work—were deeply shaped by both the money and systems of accountability of […]

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