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Medical Humanitarianism
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Medical Humanitarianism
Ethnographies of Practice

Edited by Sharon Abramowitz and Catherine Panter-Brick. Foreword by Peter Piot

288 pages | 6 x 9 | 3 illus.
Cloth 2015 | ISBN 9780812247329 | $69.95s | Outside the Americas £56.00
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights
View table of contents and excerpt

"This volume brings the intersections between humanitarian and global health interventions into relief. It offers detail, nuance, and complexity to debates that are out there, probing difficult situations and asking tough questions."—Miriam Ticktin, Professor of Anthropology, The New School for Social Research

"In light of the recent Ebola crisis, this book becomes even more prescient of the lessons that can be learnt by examining well-grounded ethnographies in comparative perspective for a more critical and compassionate understanding of humanitarian assistance."—Peter Piot, from the Foreword.

"What happens when humanitarian intentions collide with the realities of humanitarian action? The editors present twelve engaging and provocative ethnographies of humanitarian practice, that invite immersion, deep reflection, and call for constructive dialogue between scholarship and humanitarian practice"—Unni Karunakara, International President (2010-2013), Médecins Sans Frontières

Medical humanitarianism—medical and other health-related initiatives undertaken in conditions born of conflict, neglect, or disaster —has a prominent and growing presence in international development, global health, and human security interventions. Medical Humanitarianism: Ethnographies of Practice features twelve essays that fold back the curtains on the individual experiences, institutional practices, and cultural forces that shape humanitarian practice.

Contributors offer vivid and often dramatic insights into the experiences of local humanitarian workers in the Afghan-Pakistan border areas, national doctors coping with influxes of foreign humanitarian volunteers in Haiti, military doctors working for the British Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, and human rights-oriented volunteers within the Israeli medical bureaucracy. They analyze our contested understanding of lethal violence in Darfur, food crises responses in Niger, humanitarian knowledge in Ugandan IDP camps, and humanitarian departures in Liberia. They depict the local dynamics of healthcare delivery work to alleviate human suffering in Somali areas of Ethiopia, the emergency metaphors of global health campaigns from Ghana to war-torn Sudan, the fraught negotiations of humanitarians with strong state institutions in Indonesia, and the ambiguous character of research ethics espoused by missions in Sierra Leone. In providing well-grounded case studies, Medical Humanitarianism will engage both scholars and practitioners working at the interface of humanitarian medicine, global health interventions, and the social sciences. They challenge the reader to reach a more critical and compassionate understanding of humanitarian assistance.

Contributors: Sharon Abramowitz, Tim Allen, Ilil Benjamin, Lauren Carruth, Mary Jo DelVecchio-Good, Alex de Waal, Byron J. Good, Stuart Gordon, Jesse Hession Grayman, Jean-Hervé Jézéquel, Peter Locke, Amy Moran-Thomas, Patricia Omidian, Catherine Panter-Brick, Peter Piot, Peter Redfield, Laura Wagner.

Sharon Abramowitz is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Africa Studies at the University of Florida and author of Searching for Normal in the Wake of the Liberian War, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Catherine Panter-Brick is Professor of Anthropology, Health, and Global Affairs at Yale University, and Director of the MacMillan Program on Conflict, Resilience, and Health. She has coedited six books, most recently Pathways to Peace.

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