Medical Materialities: Toward a Material Culture of Medical Anthropology, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Medical Materialities

Toward a Material Culture of Medical Anthropology, 1st Edition

Edited by Aaron Parkhurst, Timothy Carroll


238 pages | 32 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-01-10
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Medical Materialities investigates possible points of cross-fertilisation between medical anthropology and material culture studies, and considers the successes and limitations of both sub-disciplines as they attempt to understand places, practices, methods, and cultures of healing. The editors present and expand upon a definition of ‘medical materiality’, namely the social impact of the agency of often mundane, at times non-clinical, materials within contexts of health and illness, as caused by the properties and affordances of this material. The chapters address material culture in various clinical and biomedical contexts and in discussions that link the body and healing. The diverse ethnographic case studies provide valuable insight into the way cultures of medicine are understood and practised.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: A Genealogy of Medical Materialities Timothy Carroll and Aaron Parkhurst

Part I: Flesh and Fluid

2. Of flesh and mesh: Time, materiality and health in surgical recovery Rebecca Lynch

3. From attitudes to materialities: Understanding bowel control for colorectal cancer patients in London Ignacia Arteaga

4. The life course of labia: female genital cutting in Somaliland Caroline Ackley

5. On ‘Being the Problem’: The Ontological Choreography of the Infertile Male Rebecca Williams

Part II: Infrastructures of Care

6. Blood, Lungs and Passports Aaron Parkhurst

7. ‘Time for Tea’: Tea Practices and Care in a British Hospice Sophie Duckworth

8. Regenerative Medicine Event’: Cells, Soybeans, and a Repurposing of Ritual in Japan Jesse Bia

9. The Form that Flattens Kelly Fagan Robinson

Part III: Health Publics

10. On Becoming a Vegetable: Life, Nature and Healing for a Hylozoic Cult Roland Littlewood

11. Making the Body Local: The suburban shitizen David Jeevendrampillai

12. Of smoke and unguents: Health affordances of sacred materiality Timothy Carroll

13. How photographs ‘empower’ bodies to act differently Dalia Iskander


14. Response: Medical materialities, (post)genomics and the biosocial Sahra Gibbon

15. Response: Medical materialities, collections & artefacts Graeme Were

About the Editors

Aaron Parkhurst is a lecturer in Biosocial Medical Anthropology at University College London, UK, with a focus on the anthropology of the human body, and the anthropology and bioethics of emerging technology.

Timothy Carroll is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in Anthropology at University College London, UK, studying end-of-life and post-mortem care amongst Orthodox Christians in Britain.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Health and Medical Anthropology

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Subject Categories

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