Tracing medicine.
Guideposts from anthropology of health and science
and technology studies

Sommersemester 2007

Dr. Julie Laplante, Babette Mueller-Rockstroh (;
Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Institut für Ethnologie


How can we know medicine? Who or what belongs to it? How does it provide an important lens into specific cultural contexts? These questions have become pressing in the current age of globalization where technologies and humans flow to and from different trajectories, epistemologies and power relations. The course examines the main theoretical tendencies found in anthropology of health according to the various explanations of health/disease (outlooks diverging from the biological to the political, passing through lived experience of suffering, power relations and social representations) and their corresponding fields for social action. Works from science and technology studies will also serve to understand the role of biomedical technologies (skills, knowledge and artifacts) in biomedicalization processes. We intend to study and discuss core literature and apply some relevant methodologies in current existing ethnographic settings.

Einführende Literatur/Handbücher:

  • Nichter, M & Lock, M. (Eds.). 2002. New Horizons in Medical Anthroplogy. London: Routledge
  • Petersen, A & Bunton, R. (Eds). 1997. Foucault. Health and Medicine. London: Routledge
  • Lock, M & Scheper- Hughes, N. 1990. A critical interpretative approach in medical anthropology: rituals and routines of discipline and dissent. In Johnson, T. & Sargent, CF. (Eds). Medical Anthroplogy (pp.43-73). A Handbook of Theory and Method. New York: Greenwood
  • Haraway, D. 1993. The Biopolitics of Postmodern Bodies. Determination of Self in Immune System Discourse. In Lindenbaum S. & Lock, M. (Eds.) Knowledge, Power and Practice. The Anthropology of Medicine and Everyday Life (pp. 364-410). Berkeley: University of California Press .