Vol. 40 (2019): ETHNOLOGIA POLONA: Health Matters, Patients and Doctors Through the Lens of Medical Anthropology

A healer women with a patient. Bishkek 2012. Photo: D.Penkala-Gawęcka

The articles included in this thematic section of “Ethnologia Polona” are written mainly by Polish anthropologists whose work has made medical anthropology an important and well visible sub-discipline of socio-cultural anthropology in Poland. In addition, we have invited two medical anthropologists from abroad (working in Saint Petersburg and Oslo) to submit their papers which complement the topics raised in this issue.

This special issue provides an insight into the ways medical anthropology is currently developing in the country, though, of course, it cannot present the whole panorama of these studies. In the articles contained in this issue, we can trace the intersections of various research areas, topics and concepts, such as childhood, reproduction, biomedicine, biotechnologies, medicalisation, institutionalisation, commercialisation, standardisation, normalisation, guidelines, agency, ethics, disability, addiction, patients, biomedical practitioners, healers, complementary medicine, indigenous medicine, etc. While referring to anthropological theories and concepts, the authors all ground their studies in thorough ethnographic research.
Several articles offer anthropological analyses of diverse biomedical technologies used in the diagnosis or treatment of children’s health problems, and/or examine the children’s own views on such interventions, as well as opinions and attitudes of parents and other actors. These texts show the complex “social work” of such technologies, whose impact goes far beyond biological action. Some of the articles tackle ethical issues connected with the use of biotechnologies, especially in the case of children. 

This collection is intended to give the readers an insight into the main subjects and areas of research for Polish medical anthropologists, which are compatible with the contemporary studies of world medical anthropology. At the same time, it attests to the development of this anthropological sub-discipline in our country.

Published: 2019-12-15

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