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Genetics, neuroscience and the narrative on eating disorders: Where science and storytelling meet

The narrative around eating disorders is shifting. Researchers and activists have advanced a more complex understanding of eating disorders by presenting cutting-edge scientific and clinical research (increasingly incorporating insights from genetics and neuroscience) insisting on the importance of listening to and representing the experiences of marginalized groups. The concept of complexity, which can be defined as the state of having …

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The Work of Care

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I have been conducting research on intellectual disability and care practices among families of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds in Porto Alegre, Brazil, since 2014.1 Despite the many differences in family arrangements, class, race, and sociocultural background, most of my interlocutors share a common concern: “Who will care for my child once I am no longer able to do so?” As …

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Family

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If you spend any time in a psychiatric hospital in China, you will likely be struck by the fact that most of the inpatients there have been hospitalized against or regardless of their will, usually by their family members. In China, although families have long been involved in the lives of mentally ill patients, the ways in which they are …

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Lifetimes

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“It’s only Veria who can bathe our old mama,” remarked mama’s daughter-in-law with gentle amusement. “Because Veria is blind. You know how modest mama is. She doesn’t want anyone to see her private parts.” Veria’s devoted care for her mother extends far beyond bathing. Recently she decided that those who stay with mama were neglecting her. She collected the old …

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Disability from the South: Toward a Lexicon

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In this series, we work to broaden the horizons of an emergent anthropology of disability[1] by taking two considerations as the starting point for a conversation. On the one hand, we respond to Jean and John Comaroff’s (2012) provocative call for “theory from the South,” or grounding the location of social theory-making outside dominant Euro-American spaces, assumptions, and priorities. On …

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Risk is Your Business: Citizen Science after Fukushima

I began to sweat profusely when my Geiger counter registered a radiation level of 13 microsieverts per hour—a number that indicated a high level of radioactivity. Worried, I glanced at my guide, Mr. Kan’no. The latter seems unperturbed, replying with a wry smile: “See? I told you the radiation level would be high near the gate!” Mr. Kan’no is not …