The Case of the Cake: Dilemmas of Giving and Taking

In my fieldwork at the Cardiology Unit at Vilnius public hospital I encountered what I call “the cake case.” In 2009-2010 I was in Lithuania to study how medical care was transforming as the state embarked on health care reform that aimed to rationalize and privatize public services. In particular, the neoliberal reform projects targeted informal payments, or “bribes,” that …


Swamp Dialogues: Filming Ethnography

In recent anthropological film practice we see a shift from established visual ethnographic paradigms focused on discursive representation (Crawford 1992), towards the realm of interdisciplinary cooperation and experimentation. Working with filmmakers and artists has a long history in visual anthropology, however recent theoretical debates open up new terrains for cooperation with various fields like science and technology studies, bio-medical sciences, …


Un/Inhabitable Worlds: The Curious Case of Down’s Syndrome

This article is part of the series:

In her superb exposition of staring, Garland-Thomson (2009) draws attention to Chris Rush’s artistic piece Swim 2 which depicts a woman with Down’s syndrome in a regal pose (figure 1).

Figure 1: ‘Swim 2’ by Chris Rush. All rights reserved.

Figure 1: ‘Swim 2’ by Chris Rush. All rights reserved.

She continues:

The portrait invites us to stare, engrossed perhaps less with the “strangeness” of this woman’s disability and more


Daniel P. Todes’ Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science

9780199925193Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science

by Daniel P. Todes

Oxford University Press, 2014. 880 pages.


It is going to be difficult for reviewers to avoid clichés about this wonderful biography – and wonderful it is, as both a work of scholarship and as a highly readable story of a truly ‘Russian life in science’. Some basic things …


Cristiana Giordano’s Migrants in Translation

9780520276666Migrants in Translation: Caring and the Logics of Difference in Contemporary Italy

By Cristiana Giordano

University of California Press, 2014, 288 pages.


Exploring the political entailments of rehabilitating “victims of human trafficking” in Italy, Migrants in Translation speaks to the often puzzling disjuncture between recent anthropological and public discourses concerning migrant care and integration: while anthropology’s critiques have led, …


Daniel Defert’s Une vie politique (A Political Life)

This article is part of the series:

Une vie politiqueUne vie politique [A Political Life]

Interviews with P. Artières and E. Favereau, with the collaboration of Joséphine Gross.

by Daniel Defert

Editions du Seuil, Paris, 2014


On 25 September 1984, Daniel Defert wrote a letter to his friends proposing that they create a non-profit organization to address an emerging disease: AIDS. “In face of a medical crisis and …