Call for papers for the 113th annual AAA meetings in Washington DC, December 3-7 2014
Ordering, Morality and Triage: Producing Medical Anthropology Beyond the Suffering Subject
Medical anthropology has proven its extraordinary ability to critically analyze the plights of people living in pain, poverty, disasters, and violence. Research in this discipline has dissected the origins and consequences of failing health care systems, described the workings of unsuccessful state welfare programs, denounced harmful social policies and misguided market-driven development, and exposed the benign brutality embedded in humanitarian governments and international aid programs. In addition to revealing social (and other forms of) suffering, what else can we learn from failed attempts and managed inequalities?
Inspired by recent anthropological scholarship on morality and a desire to extend medical anthropology's contributions beyond underscoring the plight of “the suffering subject (Robbins, 2013),” this panel seeks papers that address ordering, morality and triage in contemporary contexts. It attempts to go beyond the familiar nexus of suffering and violence to seek out new languages that articulate how people struggle to live in imperfect worlds marked by the calamitous results of failure and disorder. As experts of things-going-bad, we do not aim to simply distinguish good models, good governance, or “best practices” from the worst. Rather, this panel will explore how experiences of failure, disorder, and malfunction generate unexpected impetus, movements, relatedness, moral vision, and imagination. In particular, we are interested in bringing together works that investigate the complex systems at play in governing and justifying specific configurations of medicine, care, and aid.
- Following decades of influential writing on political economy of health, structural violence and social suffering, what new avenues can medical anthropologists explore to reveal and critically analyze social systems and their impacts on well-being?
-How are health services embedded within moral economies, and what are the politics at work in these economies?
-In what ways are clinical and public health practices organized into regimes of ordered action?
-How is medical treatment triaged and ordered, and how are moral actions subject to forces of triage and order?
-What consequences emerge from ordered care, and what forces perpetuate systems of social triage?
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