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Biomedical Entanglements: Conceptions of Personhood in a Papua New Guinea Society

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Volume 5

Person, Space and Memory in the Contemporary Pacific

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Biomedical Entanglements

Conceptions of Personhood in a Papua New Guinea Society

Franziska A. Herbst

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258 pages, 4 maps, 14 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-234-0 25% OFF! $150.00/£107.00 $112.50/£80.25 Hb Published (October 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-235-7 eBook

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“This ethnography is an excellent introduction to the anthropology of biomedicine and medical pluralism. It is also a model ethnography for understanding the methodological approaches in medical anthropology.” • The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology

Biomedical Entanglements is a worthwhile contribution to medical anthropology, to the anthropology of hospitals, to the anthropology of ‘things’ like X-ray machines, and to the anthropology of ever-present cultural syncretism and creative blending of systems and traditions.” • Anthropology Review Database

“This is the kind of ethnography that I look for when suggesting texts for my graduate students to read in 'Reading Medical Ethnography'… The work reveals the diverse ways in which biomedicine, biomedical institutions and formal biomedical roles are incorporated and interpreted in this setting.” • Julie Park, University of Auckland


Biomedical Entanglements is an ethnographic study of the Giri people of Papua New Guinea, focusing on the indigenous population’s interaction with modern medicine. In her fieldwork, Franziska A. Herbst follows the Giri people as they circulate within and around ethnographic sites that include a rural health center and an urban hospital. The study bridges medical anthropology and global health, exploring how the ‘biomedical’ is imbued with social meaning and how biomedicine affects Giri ways of life.

Franziska A. Herbst is a researcher at the Department of Palliative Medicine, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen.

Subject: General Anthropology Medical Anthropology
Area: Asia-Pacific


List of Maps, Figures and Illustrations
Language Notes and Conventions
List of Abbreviations


Chapter 1. Ethnography and the Fieldwork Setting
Chapter 2. Bunapas Health Center    
Chapter 3. Technologies of Disenchantment—Medical Pluralism through a Series of Lenses
Chapter 4. The Web of Care Relationships
Chapter 5. Ingenious Women—Making Biomedical Reproductive Health Care Meaningful



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