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Fierce Medicines, Fragile Socialities: Grounding Global HIV Treatment in Tanzania

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Volume 18

Epistemologies of Healing

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Fierce Medicines, Fragile Socialities

Grounding Global HIV Treatment in Tanzania

Dominik Mattes

436 pages, 12 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-321-9 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (August 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78920-322-6 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - edit   Buy the eBook! $39.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Dominik Mattes’s stunning new book will remain relevant for those interested in why and how vertical global health interventions often fail (and how they might succeed). This book effectively illustrates how to translate the global to the local and the structural to the personal. Mattes also provides a blueprint for ethnographic research that aims to examine a problem from multiple, often contradictory, angles. Fierce Medicines, Fragile Socialities is a must read for those interested in HIV/AIDS, global health interventions, and ethnographic methods.” • Medical Anthropology Quarterly

“This is an important contribution to existing research on HIV and its treatment in Africa. The book is unique in combining perspectives on providing, and on living, life with HIV treatment.  The observations are acute, and the case studies of patients and families are illuminating.” • Susan Reynolds Whyte, University of Copenhagen


Set in Tanga, a city on the Tanzanian Swahili coast, Dominik Mattes examines the implementation of antiretroviral HIV-treatment (ART) in the area, exploring the manifold infrastructural and social fragilities of treatment provision in public HIV clinics as well as patients’ multi-layered struggles of coming to terms with ART in their everyday lives. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, the book shows that, notwithstanding the massive rollout of ART, providing treatment and living a life with HIV in settings like Tanga continue to entail social, economic, and moral challenges and long-term uncertainties, which contradict the global rhetoric of the “normalization of HIV”.

Dominik Mattes is a postdoctoral researcher at the Collaborative Research Center “Affective Societies” and the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. His research interests include medical anthropology, critical global health, anthropology of religion, as well as anthropology of affect and emotion.

Subject: Medical Anthropology Development Studies
Area: Africa


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