Crises and diversification (completed)

Publication project

Special issue of Anthropology & Medicine "Therapeutic crises, diversification and mainstreaming" - Edited by Gabi Alex, Kristine Krause and David Parkin

This special issue is about the multiple intersections of therapeutic knowledge, crises and processes of diversification and mainstreaming. It starts not from a set definition of, say, medical ‘crisis’ but from the realisation that knowledge practices themselves construe crises (e.g. knowledge about epidemics, genetic testing, divination practices), thereby producing new forms of differentiating bodies and relations and/or naming and ordering them. With the two other central terms of this special issue, diversification and mainstreaming, the editors of this special issue aim to refer to these processes. Diversification is understood here not only as the multiplication of differentiation, but as the increasing complexity resulting from the intersection and interaction of multiple markers of difference. The term mainstreaming refers to processes which are undertaken in order to accommodate difference. It is a term used in the field of gender politics to describe the movement of gender issues from a specialized niche to an integral part of all levels of politics. However, in this special issue, the term is used in its popular understanding as in the fields of music or fashion to refer to the development of common genres and styles.

Crises can be turning points leading to standardization and mainstreaming: in standardization, authorities impose directives and controls to curb and dissolve the crisis; in the case of mainstreaming, different interest groups and individuals try to make sense of the crisis by reconciling the different interpretations made of it. In this struggle to control or make sense of a crisis, old medical categories may clash or merge with newly created ones in a process of on-going diversification.

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