Introduction: Excavating and (re)creating the biosocial; birth cohorts as ethnographic object of inquiry and site of intervention

Longitudinal birth cohorts are increasingly recognised as important for understanding how biological, social and environmental processes interact over time and contribute to health inequalities. Birth cohorts have also become part of global assemblages of knowledge production, particularly in the field of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD, Gluckman et al. 2016), and act as important technologies of evidence …


A Year of Trans Childhood

Trans young people are a matter of vital attention in the United States. Recently, trans-identified youth have figured in arguments about healthcare


Scholarly Stretching and Meta-Ethnography in the Medico-Legal Borderlands

This article is part of the series:

We met some years back at a scholarly conference where we were both presenting papers on a common theme: health care in the service of the law. We bonded over our shared academic interest in Stefan Timmermans and Jonathan Gabe’s (2002) “medico-legal borderlands” framework. As we came to realize, our research agendas were both conceptually situated within ‘borderland’ spaces. We …


Word Shell

I have never lost my childhood habit of beachcombing for special rocks and shells, and I think of ethnography as involving a similar process of collecting bits of evidence. Mostly what I collect are words (interviews, quotations, or notes) that I then use to make various kinds of word compositions (descriptions, analyses, arguments, and articles). But words do also have …


Breathing Room: Poetic Form as Resistance to Convention in the Ethnography of Suffering

Here I ruminate on recent writing experiments at the convergence of poetry and ethnography as a means to convey experiences of suffering. Recent ethnographies of suffering highlight innovative ways medical anthropologists embed themselves in their accounts of others’ suffering, as well as their misapprehensions about what occurs in this process of witnessing. Dwelling in these misapprehensions shows the obvious potency …


Thinking pain

Care worker Annika announces that she does not want to go to Mr Moran. “He always complains.” “I’ll go”, says her colleague Robin, and turning to me he says, “I don’t have the intern today so you can come along if you want to see for yourself how it goes”. We head off to assemble the materials for the morning …