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An Anthropology of Biomedicine by Margaret Lock, Vinh-Kim Nguyen

By Margaret Lock, Vinh-Kim Nguyen

An Anthropology of Biomedicine is a thrilling new advent to biomedicine and its international implications. concentrating on the ways that the appliance of biomedical applied sciences result in radical adjustments to societies at huge, cultural anthropologist Margaret Lock and her co-author health practitioner and clinical anthropologist Vinh-Kim Nguyen strengthen and combine the thesis that the human physique in well-being and ailment is the elusive manufactured from nature and tradition that refuses to be pinned down.

  • Introduces biomedicine from an anthropological viewpoint, exploring the entanglement of fabric our bodies with background, atmosphere, tradition, and politics
  • Develops and integrates an unique concept: that the human physique in health and wellbeing and ailment isn't really an ontological given yet a portable, malleable entity
  • Makes vast use of old and modern ethnographic fabrics around the world to demonstrate the significance of this methodological approach
  • Integrates key new examine facts with extra classical fabric, masking the administration of epidemics, famines, fertility and beginning, through army medical professionals from colonial instances on
  • Uses a variety of case reports to demonstrate thoughts akin to the worldwide commodification of human our bodies and physique elements, smooth kinds of inhabitants, and the extension of biomedical applied sciences into family and intimate domain names
  • Winner of the 2010 Prose Award for Archaeology and Anthropology

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This insight informs our position that the science of biomedicine is actively constructed by technology – biomedical technology. By extension this means that health-related matters are routinely “objectified” as technical problems, to be solved through the application of technology and the conduct of science and are, by definition, therefore, decontextualized in practice. Objectification tends to make opaque moral assumptions embedded in the uses to which any given technology is put and its actual effects on individuals and social groups, as the following chapters will show.

Inevitably it is at technologically manipulated margins between what is assumed to be the unassailable natural world and the encroaching boundaries of culture where concern and moral outrage is most evident in these dystopian accounts. Well over a decade ago, Pfaffenberger concluded that, as seen through a Modernist lens, technology is depicted as both creator and destroyer; an agent of future promise and at the same time of culture’s destruction,20 a position that has been reiterated repeatedly over the intervening years.

This is because in such locations the collection of statistics is patchy and often skewed by being disproportionately culled from certain “kinds” of people (pregnant women and urban dwellers, for example) who are the most readily available as sources for data collection – leading to enormous bias. Moreover, creating population-based data in resource-poor countries has special importance because such numbers, however they are obtained, are crucial in mobilizing financial and technical resources. Significantly, in contrast to wealthy countries, choices are rarely made locally today about the way in which the numbers will be mobilized with the objective of improving health, but are the result of technocratic decision-making at a distance, carried out largely by donor organizations and other international agencies.

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