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Configuring Contagion: Ethnographies of Biosocial Epidemics

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Volume 19

Epistemologies of Healing

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Configuring Contagion

Ethnographies of Biosocial Epidemics

Edited by Lotte Meinert and Jens Seeberg

Afterword by Byron Good

274 pages, 5 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-304-6 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (February 2022)

ISBN  978-1-80539-727-4 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Not Yet Published (November 2024)

eISBN 978-1-80073-305-3 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“The book will be useful to medical anthropologists, public health workers, and other health care providers…Recommended.” • Choice

“Challenging the notion that some diseases are non-communicable, [this book] offers an original and coherent argument for rethinking the relations between the biological and the social, but also for thinking through the communicability of conditions through the social, using concepts such as contagion and contamination, configuration and conflagration.” • Ruth Jane Prince, University of Oslo


Expanding our understanding of contagion beyond the typical notions of infection and pandemics, this book widens the field to include the concept of biosocial epidemics. The chapters propose varied and detailed answers to questions about epidemics and their contagious potential for specific infections and non-infectious conditions. Together they explore how inseparable social and biological processes configure co-existing influences, which create epidemics, and in doing so stress the role of social inequality in these processes. The authors compellingly show that epidemics do not spread evenly in populations or through simple coincidental biological contagion: they are biosocially structured and selective, and happen under specific economic, political and environmental conditions. This volume illustrates that an understanding of biosocial factors is vital for ensuring effective strategies for the containment of epidemics.

Lotte Meinert is Professor at the Department of Anthropology, Aarhus University. Her book publications include Biosocial Worlds: Anthropology of Health Environments beyond Determinism (UCL, 2020) edited with Jens Seeberg and Andreas Roepstorff and Time Work: Studies of Temporal Agency (Berghahn, 2020) edited with Michael Flaherty and Anne Line Dalsgård.

Jens Seeberg is Professor of Anthropology at Aarhus University. He is the director at the Center for Biosocial Inquiries at Aarhus University and has published on a variety of subjects including inequity in health, private healthcare and medical systems in India.

Subject: Medical AnthropologySociology


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