Book: Medical Humanitarianism

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Medical Humanitarianism: Ethnographies of Practice

Edited by Sharon Abramowitz, associate professor of anthropology and Africa studies at the University of Florida, and Catherine Panter-Brick, professor of anthropology, health and global affairs

(University of Pennsylvania Press)

Medical humanitarianism — medical and other health-related initiatives undertaken in conditions born of conflict, neglect, or disaster — has a prominent and growing presence in international development, global health, and human security interventions. This book features 12 essays that examine the individual experiences, institutional practices, and cultural forces that shape humanitarian practice.

Contributors offer insights into the experiences of local humanitarian workers in the Afghan-Pakistan border areas, national doctors coping with influxes of foreign humanitarian volunteers in Haiti, military doctors working for the British Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, and human rights-oriented volunteers within the Israeli medical bureaucracy. They analyze the contested understanding of lethal violence in Darfur, food crises responses in Niger, humanitarian knowledge in Ugandan IDP camps, and humanitarian departures in Liberia. They depict the local dynamics of healthcare delivery work to alleviate human suffering in Somali areas of Ethiopia, the emergency metaphors of global health campaigns from Ghana to war-torn Sudan, the negotiations of humanitarians with strong state institutions in Indonesia, and the ambiguous character of research ethics espoused by missions in Sierra Leone.

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