Workshop "Medical knowledge, health, crises and processes of ..."

Invited Workshop

Medical knowledge, health, crises and processes of diversification at the 11th EASA Biennial Conference

At the 11th EASA Biennial Conference taking place under the conference theme“Crisis and Imagination” in Maynooth, Ireland from 24-27th August 2010 the invited workshop “Medical knowledge, health, crises and processes of diversification” will be convened by Gabi Alex, David Parkin and Kristine Krause, all from the Department of Socio-Cultural Diversity.

For further information please see:

Medical knowledge, health, crises and processes of diversification

Gabi Alex, MPI Göttingen, Alex(at)
David Parkin, MPI Göttingen, parkind(at)
Kristine Krause, University of Oxford, kristine.krause(at)

Discussant: Elisabeth Hsu (University of Oxford)

Short description
The workshop interrogates how diversifications are constructed, represented and encountered through medical practices in situations of crises. It explores how crises are managed through medical practices, how knowledge practices construe crises, and how crises are dealt with by controlling difference.

Long description
The idea of crisis, as an increasing uncertainty about the future and an accelerating emergency is very present in the field of health and medical knowledge. This is apparent in daily news about swine flue, declining public funds for health care due to the financial crises, the eradication of biodiversity properties caused by environmental damage and exploitation of natural resources. In this workshop, we aim to explore how medical knowledge and crises become interrelated in different ways through the topic of diversification. We ask how perceived crises are assessed and managed through different medical practices (e.g. medical pluralism, new technologies), how knowledge practices construct crises (e.g. knowledge about epidemics, divination practices), how crises is dealt with by constructing and controlling difference (genetics, spirits), and how diversity is envisioned as endangered resource (biodiversity).

We attempt bringing together different perspectives and invite contributions addressing, among others, the following issues:
New technologies and therapies do not only respond to crises but can create new differences which result in uncertainties. How are these perceived and controlled?
Sickness crises results in the utilization of different therapeutic practices. How does this help people to deal with crises they are encountering?
Disappearing medical knowledge traditions and endangered bio properties are experienced as crisis to their holders. How is this dealt with on community, state and transstate level?
Imaginations of crisis are constructed through classifications of normalities and deviations based on medical sciences. How is this accomplished and perceived and in whose interest? Who are the actors involved?