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

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

ISBN  978-1-78533-234-0 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (October 2016)

ISBN  978-1-78920-822-1 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (July 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78533-235-7 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Buy the eBook from these vendorsRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“This book is an exemplary ethnography of biomedicine told from the perspective of its recipients and an excellent way of introducing students to some of the methods and approaches of medical anthropology. The vivid and detailed ethnographic description that comprises the main body of the book is both accessible and a rich scholarly resource for ethnographers of the region… The use of clearly marked case studies to build up each chapter’s key arguments and the framing of each chapter with a clear summary and synopsis are useful for classroom teaching.” • Medical Anthropology Quarterly

“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 Institute for General Practice, Hannover Medical School.

Subject: Anthropology (General)Medical Anthropology
Area: Asia-Pacific


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