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CfP: The social lives of biomedical technologies in global health development (AAA 2013)

AAA Chicago 2013  Call for Papers: The social lives of biomedical technologies in global health development

 Global health development policy and practice has made a noticeable return in recent years to technical and entrepreneurial solutions to world health challenges.  This panel will consider the social lives of new and re-purposed biomedical technologies including devices, medicines, and protocols in low resource settings generally or as specific features of health development projects.  How do these devices and drugs fit the new mandate for simple, high impact, and low cost solutions? How do local clinicians, policy makers, development workers, and users experience them and adapt them to their own contexts? We welcome papers that focus on a particular moment in the life of a biomedical device or drug or that seek to cover longer career histories and trajectories; familiar issues of access, distribution, and consumption are all important areas for the anthropological study of biotechnical solutions for global health challenges as are issues design and manufacturing.  Both ethnographic and theoretical papers are welcome. Paper topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • theoretical approaches to understanding the design, manufacture, and use of biomedical technologies in low resource settings
  • creative uses of biomedical technologies by users (including clinicians and lay persons)
  • non-biomedical technologies used in health projects (ie cell phones)
  • the domestication of medicines and devices usually reserved for clinical settings
  • scientific and social debates around evidence and particular uses of biomedical technologies, protocols

Please send a 150 word abstract to Maggie MacDonald Maggie@yorku.ca as soon as possible.


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