Families Managing Health and Wellbeing in Times of Crisis

Jul 25 – Jul 28, 2023 

Pan­el at the Ger­man Anthro­po­log­i­cal Association’s (DGSKA e.V.) bian­nu­al con­fer­ence „Con­test­ed Knowl­edge: Per­spec­tives in Social
and Cul­tur­al Anthro­pol­o­gy” at the Lud­wig-Max­i­m­il­ians-Uni­ver­sität München

Dear col­leagues,
On behalf of the work group Med­ical Anthro­pol­o­gy we warm­ly invite you to
our work­shop at the Ger­man Anthro­po­log­i­cal Association’s (DGSKA e.V.)
next bian­nu­al con­fer­ence „Con­test­ed Knowl­edge: Per­spec­tives in Social
and Cul­tur­al Anthro­pol­o­gy” (Lud­wig-Max­i­m­il­ians-Uni­ver­sität München,
25–28 July 2023), see abstract below. The work­shop will include a
keynote address by Prof. Sjaak van der Geest (Emer­i­tus Pro­fes­sor of
Med­ical Anthro­pol­o­gy, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ams­ter­dam). Please send your
abstract of *max. 200 words* to a.bochow1@gmail.com and
dominik.mattes@fu-berlin.de *by 15 Decem­ber 2022*. We look for­ward to
your con­tri­bu­tions!
Best wish­es,
Astrid Bochow and Dominik Mattes
*Fam­i­lies Man­ag­ing Health and Well­be­ing in Times of Crisis*
AG Med­ical Anthropology
PD Dr. Astrid Bochow, Georg-August-Uni­ver­sität Göttingen
Dr. Dominik Mattes, Freie Uni­ver­sität Berlin
Post­colo­nial the­o­ry crit­i­cizes that knowl­edge about the body, health,
and well­be­ing is deeply con­nect­ed to vary­ing forms of governmentality
and sub­mis­sion. Post­colo­nial ethnog­ra­phy, for instance, documents
con­tests over health epis­te­molo­gies and author­i­ty in con­texts of medical
plu­ral­ism and shows that fam­i­lies are cru­cial in the sense of “ther­a­py
man­ag­ing groups” that help medi­ate dif­fer­ent health epistemologies
rec­on­cil­ing, for instance, social-spir­i­tu­al with phys­i­cal aspects of
heal­ing. Fam­i­lies also par­take in the nego­ti­a­tions around diverging
con­cep­tu­al­iza­tions of health and well-being between indi­vid­ual patients
and bio­med­ical insti­tu­tions. Final­ly, fam­i­lies may medi­ate particular
forms of sub­jec­ti­va­tion pur­sued by state insti­tu­tions, while themselves
sub­du­ing indi­vid­u­als to local forms of gen­der and age-relat­ed hierarchies.
Mean­while, recent social phe­nom­e­na such as long-term lock­downs during
the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, dra­mat­i­cal­ly ris­ing dai­ly liv­ing expenses,
grow­ing num­bers of peo­ple being forced to leave their home coun­tries, as
well as envi­ron­men­tal cat­a­stro­phes rein­force pub­lic and scholarly
inter­ests in fam­i­lies as resources of social and mate­r­i­al care and
sup­port for vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple includ­ing chil­dren and elder­ly peo­ple. We
invite papers that reflect on how fam­i­lies shape health man­age­ment in
these (and oth­er) con­texts of cri­sis where mul­ti­ple forms of knowledge
and insti­tu­tion­al expec­ta­tions col­lide. Among oth­ers, they may address
the fol­low­ing questions:
How do fam­i­ly mem­bers medi­ate (com­pet­ing) insti­tu­tion­al knowl­edge, e.g.
relat­ed to nutri­tion, sports, med­ica­tion but also loss and trauma?
Which sources and bod­ies of knowl­edge are deemed legit­i­mate for what
rea­sons, and how are they negotiated?
Do dai­ly health-relat­ed deci­sions reflect gen­der and age-related
How do fam­i­ly mem­bers deal with gov­ern­men­tal and oth­er institutional
expec­ta­tions con­cern­ing their role as cen­tral sites of caregiving?