Katerini T. Storeng and Arima Mishra: Global Public Health Special Issue: Critical Ethnographies of Health Systems Policies and Practices

Global Public Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice

Volume 9, Issue 8, 2014 Special Issue: Critical Ethnographies of Health Systems Policies and Practices

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The articles in this special issue argue that medical anthropology – and the core ethnographic method – is particularly well-placed to bring forth a social and political, rather than purely techno-managerial perspective in the study of the politics and practices of diverse health systems. From the 1970s onwards, medical anthropologists have demonstrated how medical systems can be best examined within larger historical, economic and political contexts (Janzen, 1978; Kleinman, 1978). Since the 1990s, anthropological Research within a critical interpretative tradition has extended the study of medical systems to offer critical perspectives on the emerging global health field, examining the assumptions that frame problems of relevance to health and ‘why concepts and interventions do or do not translate across borders, language and cultural groups’ (Hansen, Holmes, & Lindemann, 2013, p. 116). Reviewing anthropology’s contribution to global health, Janes and Corbett (2009) outline four principal areas of critical analysis, including health inequities in political and economic contexts; the impact of local worlds on the assemblages of science and technology that circulate globally; international health programmes and policies; and the reconfiguration of the social relations of international health development. Ethnography is uniquely suited to understand how global health policies and

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Published Sep. 24, 2014 3:43 PM - Last modified Sep. 24, 2014 3:43 PM