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Ghost‐Managed Medicine: Big Pharma’s Invisible Hands

Murphy Halliburton and the students of Anthropology of Pharmaceuticals[1]   This review is collectively authored by Prof. Murphy Halliburton and the advanced undergraduate anthropology students who took his “Anthropology of Pharmaceuticals” class in Spring 2019 at Queens College, CUNY, in which this book was assigned. In the eyes of this audience, this work was highly […]

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Animal Ethos: The Morality of Human‐Animal Encounters in Experimental Lab Science

John Hartigan, Jr. Ethnographers are generating a more detailed view of humans’ relationships with other animals. Quite poignantly, Animal Ethos, by Leslie Sharp, focuses on the deaths of laboratory research animals, which possibly number in the millions annually worldwide. This book is crucial for anyone seeking to understand how researchers and lab technicians think about […]

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Jailcare: Finding the Safety Net for Women behind Bars

Kaya Naomi Williams Carolyn Sufrin’s Jailcare: Finding the Safety Net for Women behind Bars begins with “Evelyn,” the pseudonymous woman whose experiences with prenatal healthcare in San Francisco’s municipal jail anchor the ethnography and lend it life. “Everyone says I got arrested,” Evelyn says, “but I got rescued.” The question of how being forcibly taken […]

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Reconceiving Muslim Men: Love and Marriage, Family and Care in Precarious Times

The title of this significant, highly interesting, and at times heartbreaking book raises a question: Given that the majority of the book chapters do not deal with reproduction, why does the title speak of “reconceiving” Muslim men, rather than using a more intuitive term, for example, “reconsidering”? I read the editors’ choice of term as […]

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Research as Development: Biomedical Research, Ethics, and Collaboration in Sri Lanka

Wim Van Daele In Research as Development, Salla Sariola and Bob Simpson describe the numerous moral quandaries that arise in global biomedical collaboration. Their vivid account of two clinical trials conducted in Sri Lanka provides a window into the “entanglement of biomedical research, bioethics and development” (p. 19). The authors deftly narrate how ethical protocols, […]

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Negotiating Structural Vulnerability in Cancer Control

Carlo Caduff Negotiating Structural Vulnerability in Cancer Control highlights the continuing lack of equity in cancer care. At the heart of the essays assembled in this volume are two questions: “What can case studies about the lived experiences of and discourses related to cancer contribute to the burgeoning interest in the concept of structural vulnerability? […]

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Psychiatric Encounters: Madness and Modernity in Yucatan, Mexico

It is relatively easy to critique biomedicine—perhaps especially institutional psychiatry—as a form of social control, as a crucial cog in the system of neoliberal governmentality. It is much harder to write a compassionate clinical ethnography that does justice to patients, practitioners, and institutions and that has historical depth and contemporary valence. And it is nearly […]

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Threshold: Emergency Responders on the US‐Mexico Border

Wendy Vogt There is perhaps no border in the world that had garnered more scholarly, journalistic or political attention than the U.S.–Mexico border. More than simply a geo–political boundary, the U.S.–Mexico border is an intensive site of cultural and economic exchange, natural biodiversity, and political spectacle. It is also a site of conquest, violence, and […]

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State of Health: Pleasure and Politics in Venezuelan Health Care under Chávez

Lynn M. Morgan State of Health: Pleasure and Politics in Venezuelan Health Care under Chávez is an accessible, eminently teachable book set in Venezuela at the height of the Bolivarian revolution. It was 2006–2009, a time of widespread hope and optimism. High prices for oil, Venezuela’s major export, allowed then-President Hugo Chávez to expand social […]

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Romancing the Sperm: Shifting Biopolitics and the Making of Modern Families

For the last few decades, anthropologists have made key contributions to scholarship on the sociocultural implications of assisted reproductive technologies. This work provides critical ethnographic insights into ongoing debates around changing meanings of family, parenthood, and life itself. In Romancing the Sperm, Diane Tober offers a refreshing take on one such assisted reproductive technology—sperm donation—by […]

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