Series

Putting British social medicine in conversation with Black feminist health science studies: considerations for racial health disparities

Putting British social medicine in conversation with Black feminist health science studies: considerations for racial health disparities


Introduction At present, we are living through several major, arguably foreseen, historical events and political shifts. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has destabilised and further fragmented Britain’s social, economic, and healthcare systems. Additionally, the cost-of-living crisis has resulted in the disturbing increase of the reliance on foodbanks for the employed and unemployed alike (BBC News. […]
Healthcare in the age of inequality

Healthcare in the age of inequality


I had just begun my year of social service when I met a patient I will never forget. Let’s call her María. She was around 50 years old and was attending a follow-up for abdominal pain and abnormal uterine bleeding. The results of her colposcopy strongly suggested cervical cancer and an ultrasound showed multiple hepatic […]
Family planning projects: unpacking the spectacle of women’s empowerment in Uttar Pradesh, India

Family planning projects: unpacking the spectacle of women’s empowerment in Uttar Pradesh, India


Introduction Contraceptives are considered ‘the greatest life-saving, poverty ending, women-empowering innovation ever created’ (Gates 2019, 18). ‘Family planners’ – the global constellation of bilateral and multilateral entities, governments, philanthropies, research bodies, and NGOs working in the field of family planning – rationalize investment and intervention into ‘excessive’ fertility along two lines: namely, reductions in unintended […]
Medicalization and resocialization: the future of social medicine

Medicalization and resocialization: the future of social medicine


Social medicine, an approach that centres the social conditions of life as the cause of health and illness, can be thought of as an effort to ‘resocialize’ medicine. It is an attempt to reverse the narrowing of the medical gaze on the minutiae of material biology within individual bodies as the sole explanation for disease, […]
Democracy, power, knowledge, and health: questions for the future of social medicine

Democracy, power, knowledge, and health: questions for the future of social medicine


This essay aims to explore possibilities and challenges for the future of Social Medicine.[1] It is inspired by empirical ethnographic research, as part of a PhD in Collective Health, in a Brazilian public maternity hospital, which does not escape the contradictions of being part of a universal health system immersed in a context of deep […]
Social medicine as a state of exception: rethinking responsibility and public medicine through mutual aid events in Japan

Social medicine as a state of exception: rethinking responsibility and public medicine through mutual aid events in Japan


If you fall into a pit, you can climb out, but once you slip from a sheer cliff,                   you cannot step firmly into a new life again Tokyo Ueno Station, Yu Miri Ghostly matters in Sugamo Since its establishment by the US occupying forces in the aftermath of the Second World War, Sugamo Prison […]
The work of plants

The work of plants


Though plants are indispensable for human survival, their contributions to human existence and history are often underappreciated.
Metabolism and capacity: history and labour in post-apartheid South Africa

Metabolism and capacity: history and labour in post-apartheid South Africa


I start with the question, why was it necessary, from 2008, for Mondi South Africa to spend R50 million (USD 8 million) a year on a nutrition intervention for 10,000 timber plantation labourers in KwaZulu-Natal province?
Miscommunicating metabolism: hunger, method and the practice of public health

Miscommunicating metabolism: hunger, method and the practice of public health


Over the past five years I have been conducting research on everyday eating and the emergence of Non-Communicable Diseases in the West African city of Dakar, Senegal.
‘How pesticides enter the body’: Porosity and growth in Western Kenya

‘How pesticides enter the body’: Porosity and growth in Western Kenya


In a remote church building in the Southwest of Kenya, Arthur Ouko was training farmers on ‘responsible use of pesticides.’
“When the city eats the forest”

“When the city eats the forest”


Kinshasa, its traffic and street vendors, receded as we drove past the international airport on the national road following the Congo River.