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Book Review: After War: The Weight of Life at Walter Reed

Zoë Wool’s After War: The Weight of Life at Walter Reed offers an ethnographically rich, theoretically nuanced, and compulsively readable analysis of the experiences of injured soldiers at one of the nation’s most iconic medical centers. Wool draws on anthropological studies of conflict, trauma, affect, and disability to probe the daily lives of a group […]

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Book Review: Recovery’s Edge: An Ethnography of Mental Health Care and Moral Agency

One of the challenges in studying and discussing “the recovery movement” in mental health care is how profoundly mundane it can sound to the person who is unfamiliar with it. It is about empowerment, it is about fostering hope, it is about disrupting the “paternalistic” crimes of the medical model of care, it is about […]

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Book Review: The Politics of Morality: The Church, the State, and Reproductive Rights in Postsocialist Poland

On April 3, 2016, thousands of protesters participated in a rally in Warsaw, Poland, in opposition to a proposed bill that would institute a complete ban on pregnancy terminations. Currently, abortion is illegal except in cases of rape, incest, or fetal deformity, and even in these situations, women are often refused termination. According to newspaper […]

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Book Review: Bioethics around the Globe

In 2005, UNESCO passed the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, giving special attention to building capacities in developing countries to address ethical issues in the implementation of new medical technologies and human subject research. The declaration is part of a larger trend over the past two decades led by UNESCO, the EU, NGOs, […]

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Book Review: The Unending Hunger: Tracing Women and Food Insecurity across Borders

The women at the core of Megan Carney’s ethnography share with many other migrants from Mexico and Central America the direct experience of two political–economic paradoxes. Neoliberal trade agreements encourage the untrammeled flow of commodities across national borders, while within the United States these same policies have contributed to a xenophobic atmosphere in which the […]

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Book Review: An Anthropology of Lying: Information in the Doctor–Patient Relationship

An Anthropology of Lying makes the provocative assertion that deceitful communication is an integral part of the doctor–patient relationship in French medical care for people with serious diseases. And lying becomes increasingly prevalent as the disease advances. A translation from the original French (2006), Sylvie Fainzang’s volume demonstrates that physicians and patients routinely obfuscate information […]

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Book Review: Friendship, Love, and Hip Hop: An Ethnography of African American Men in Psychiatric Custody

Katie Rose Hejtmanek’s Friendship, Love, and Hip Hop: An Ethnography of African American Men in Psychiatric Custody provides an intimate look into daily life inside a total institution after the process of deinstitutionalization in the United States. Havenwood (pseudonym) is a residential treatment center in the midwestern United States where youth—most of them African American—are […]

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Book Review: addicted.pregnant.poor

In answering the question, “What forms of life are possible in the daily-rent hotels of San Francisco?” addicted.pregnant.poor is not for the faint of heart. Over the four years that Kelly Ray Knight follows the addicted, pregnant, and poor women who work the daily-rent hotels, they experience and she witnesses flagrant violations of human rights […]

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Book Review: Cousin Marriages: Between Tradition, Genetic Risk and Cultural Change

Cousin Marriages: Between Tradition, Genetic Risk and Cultural Change brings together chapters from geneticists and varied social scientists to build a current and cross-disciplinary examination of cross-cousin unions. Any good introduction of an edited volume should hang together well as a stand-alone discussion, and editors Shaw and Raz succeed by introducing the current complexities of […]

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Book Review: Misbehaving Science: Controversy and the Development of Behavior Genetics

Behavior genetics is a field that has generated many controversies, some of which medical anthropologists and sociologists have participated in. Aaron Panofsky attempts to move beyond critiques of the field’s assumptions and methods or speculations on the potential social consequences of this research. Instead, Misbehaving Science examines how scientists position themselves in relation to these […]

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