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 worldwide implications. targeting the ways that the appliance of biomedical applied sciences lead to radical alterations to societies at huge, cultural anthropologist Margaret Lock and her co-author general practitioner and clinical anthropologist Vinh-Kim Nguyen boost and combine the thesis that the human physique in future health and disease is the elusive made from nature and tradition that refuses to be pinned down.

  • Introduces biomedicine from an anthropological viewpoint, exploring the entanglement of fabric our bodies with historical past, setting, tradition, and politics
  • Develops and integrates an unique thought: that the human physique in wellbeing and fitness and affliction isn't an ontological given yet a transportable, malleable entity
  • Makes vast use of historic and modern ethnographic fabrics around the world to demonstrate the significance of this methodological approach
  • Integrates key new examine info with extra classical fabric, overlaying the administration of epidemics, famines, fertility and delivery, through army medical professionals from colonial occasions on
  • Uses quite a few case experiences to demonstrate techniques corresponding to the worldwide commodification of human our bodies and physique components, smooth different types 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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Their mechanical application to settings where state power takes very different forms – or where “government” is exercised to some degree by NGOs and humanitarian interventions – may Biomedical Technologies in Practice 29 conceal more than it reveals. As we will show, theories of “biopower” must be rethought if they are to be of global relevance. We turn now to another set of practices that has been made possible only recently as a result of technological developments that came about from the latter part of the 20th century.

56 Among their many key applications, techno/biologicals enable the transformation of living cells, tissues, and organs into agents that facilitate research, or else substitute or replace faulty, inadequate, or failed body parts and mechanisms. Among such technologies are “immortalized cell lines” kept “alive” in nutritive media; the creation of transgenic and synthetic organisms; organ transplants; and extraction and preparation of stem cells for research purposes from embryonic tissue. There are similarities in the effects brought about by techno/biologicals with medical traditions where substances are trafficked between humans in order to enhance wellbeing and provide protection from danger.

This phenomenon, together with the so-called “population problem” that preoccupies many governments today, contributes to the creation of batteries of statistics central to global health planning. Statistical modeling of troubling and threatening events, including maternal death during labor, projected HIV infections, estimations of future disease based on genetic testing, and so on, informs policies, and in so doing contributes to the looping effect and hence fashions identities; individuals are made into “at-risk mothers,” “vulnerable to HIV,” “at risk for prostate cancer,” and so on.

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