Book ID: CBB466088168

Biomedicine in an Unstable Place: Infrastructure and Personhood in a Papua New Guinean Hospital (2014)


Street, Alice (Author)

Duke University Press

Publication Date: 2014
Physical Details: 304 pp.
Language: English

Biomedicine in an Unstable Place is the story of people's struggle to make biomedicine work in a public hospital in Papua New Guinea. It is a story encompassing the history of hospital infrastructures as sites of colonial and postcolonial governance, the simultaneous production of Papua New Guinea as a site of global medical research and public health, and people's encounters with urban institutions and biomedical technologies. In Papua New Guinea, a century of state building has weakened already inadequate colonial infrastructures, and people experience the hospital as a space of institutional, medical, and ontological instability.In the hospital's clinics, biomedical practitioners struggle amid severe resource shortages to make the diseased body visible and knowable to the clinical gaze. That struggle is entangled with attempts by doctors, nurses, and patients to make themselves visible to external others—to kin, clinical experts, global scientists, politicians, and international development workers—as socially recognizable and valuable persons. Here hospital infrastructures emerge as relational technologies that are fundamentally fragile but also offer crucial opportunities for making people visible and knowable in new, unpredictable, and powerful ways.

Reviewed By

Review Sjaak van der Geest (2017) Review of "Biomedicine in an Unstable Place: Infrastructure and Personhood in a Papua New Guinean Hospital". Bulletin of the History of Medicine (pp. 462-463). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Godoy, Andresa Michele
Lopes, Doraci Alves
Garcia, Rosa Wanda Diez
Houston, C. Stuart
Engel, Jonathan
Gorsky, Martin
Social History of Medicine
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
Korean Journal of Medical History
Medicina Historica
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Duke University Press
McGill-Queen's University Press
Harvard University Press
Boydell & Brewer
Oxford University Press
Silvio Zamorani Editore
Health care
Public health
Hospitals and clinics
Medicine and society
Medicine and government
Choe Ung-sok
Clinton, Bill
Rosenberg, Charles E.
Time Periods
20th century, late
20th century
21st century
19th century
20th century, early
18th century
United States
Genoa (Italy)
São Paulo (Brazil)
Saskatchewan (Canada)
Great Britain
National Health Service (Great Britain)
American Medical Association

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