Médecins Sans Frontières and Humanitarian Situations: An Anthropological Exploration, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Médecins Sans Frontières and Humanitarian Situations

An Anthropological Exploration, 1st Edition

Edited by Jean-François Véran, Doris Burtscher, Beverley Stringer


288 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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This book explores the interaction between anthropology and humanitarianism, focused on the organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

The emphasis of the collection is on practicing anthropology within humanitarian situations, reflecting on how anthropology contributes to the development of operational response. Each chapter presents an experience of working within a particular MSF project and highlights the real issues that anthropologists of humanitarian practice confront.

The volume will be of interest to scholars from anthropology, development studies and global health, as well as to NGO staff and health professionals.

Table of Contents

Introduction – Anthropology in humanitarian situations Jean-François Véran, Doris Burtscher and Beverley Stringer

1. Changing contexts in humanitarianism: a challenge for anthropologyTammam Aloudat and James Smith

2. A medical operational perspective on anthropology in the setting of MSF William Hennequin and Kiran Jobanputra

3. Ethical considerations and anthropology: the MSF experienceBeverley Stringer et al

4. Emergency in practice: doing an ethnography of malnutrition in South SudanDarryl Stellmach

5. The paradox of safe birth: The interaction between anthropology and medical humanitarianism – the dilemma of an MSF medical strategy versus health-seeking behaviour of Pashtun women in Khost province, Afghanistan Doris Burtscher

6. Whose culture needs to be questioned? Access to HIV/AIDS treatment in Homa Bay, Kenya Vanja Kovačič

7. Back to Life. Ebola survivors in Liberia: from imaginary heroes to political agents Emilie Venables and Umberto Pellecchia

8. Invisible Dengue: Epidemics and Politics in Léogâne, Haiti Jean-François Véran

9. Revealing causes beyond culture: An MSF surgical project through the lens of anthropology and health promotion Ursula Wagner and Paul Grohma

10. ‘Yaya hankuri da mutani?’ (How is your patience with the people?) A medical anthropological inquiry into treatment challenges in the Anka Local Government Area, Zamfara Heavy Metal Treatment Project, NigeriaAnnemieke de Bont, Marit van Lenthe and Karla Bil

11. Dealing with the body social: an ethnography of dialogue in a health clinic, south Tehran, IranMitra Asfari

12. The New Missionaries. An Anthropological Reflection on Humanitarian Action in Critical Situations Jean-François Véran and Frederic Vandenberghe

About the Editors

Jean-François Véran is an Associate Professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Between 2013 and 2019, he served as Anthropology Advisor in the Brazilian Medical Unit (BRAMU) of MSF Brazil.

Doris Burtscher has worked as a medical anthropologist with MSF since 2001. She is a medical anthropology referent in the MSF Vienna Evaluation Unit and lectures at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria.

Beverley Stringer is an anthropologist based in London leading the social science research and support team for the MSF Operational Centre Amsterdam. She is also a registered nurse practitioner and Visiting Fellow at the University of Sussex, UK.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General