Events PhD

07 Mar 2018
16:15  - 17:45

Institute of Social Anthropology, Seminar Room (Second Floor), Münsterplatz 19, 4051 Basel


Brigit Obrist: Anthropology in and of Global Health

Research Colloquium Social Anthropology

Presentation by Dr. Brigit Obrist, adjunct professor in Social Anthropology, University of Basel

In the 21st century, a new wave of optimism is sweeping through public health and medicine. Under the catchy label “global health”, social movements, academics, politicians and funding agencies have joined efforts to improve people’s health across the globe in anticipation of a better future for all. The global health movement appears progressive. It draws on a language of solidarity, inclusion and equity, and emphasizes the responsibility of nation states towards their citizens. Critics – also within public health and medicine – question whether the optimism in “global health” is a virtue or a curse. Building on our previous and current work I will argue that the contested field of global health is a rich object of inquiry for Medical Anthropology. Since many – but by no means all – global health efforts are concentrated on Africa, the tensions and paradoxes surrounding these experiments make countries like Tanzania intriguing sites for research. Revisiting the often invoked distinction between a Medical Anthropology in or of global health, I will make a case for critically engaged research. This will lead me to more general reflections about shifts in knowledge generation and research methodologies required for a fruitful dialogue between and across discipline-defining epistemologies, perspectives and content areas.


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