ANT348 November 21, 2013
– General expectations the same as the midterm.
– Three sections, worth 10%, 7%, and 8%.
– Section 1: 5 out of 8 short-answer questions. (3/8 are first part of the term) (10%)
– Section 2: 1 out of 3 essay questions; emphasis on Berry & first term. (7%)
– Section 3: 1 out of 3 essay questions, emphasis is on biopower and second half of term. (8%)
– Berry is your friend for the exam!
November 21, 2013:
– Berry chapter 6 discussion from last week
3. Why do so many women not go to the hospital? How is the health workers' analysis of
“inertia cost” misleading?
“Inertia Cost” - stuck in the rut of tradition.
Important reasons Berry identifies: Civil war (sterilization of the indigenous population), there is a
complex relationship between caesarian sections and sterilization. Slogan “one less gorilla”. The same
word is being used to refer to the very same procedures with very different outcomes (caesarian &
sterilization) = “operation”.
Using a metaphor of being in an enemy zone (trying to help NorthAmericans to understand this,
why would women not seek medical help?). Profound lack of trust and social barriers exist, family
members are excluded and cannot stay, the setting is isolating.
Clash of a sort of local biology of blood as something that cannot be freely given, people who
do physical labour cannot give they need it for their well-being. On the other hand, the health care
workers were threatening that the family needed to donate or find people to donate blood to 'replace'
the blood given to their loved one. Enormous abuse of power. Not consistent of local policy but is
taking place at the local level.
Social costs of attending the hospital linked to the religious developments of these communities.
Evangelical churches that are becoming increasingly popular are flat out banning women to going to
the hospital. Seen as lack of trust in God. Social consequences of being ostracized.
4. The SMI discourse frames the “problem” as one of the midwives' ignorance and “non-
compliance” - how does Berry complicate this?
Midwives and their reasons for not referring a woman to medical care. Safe Motherhood
campaign defines this as being non-compliant and ignorant. Biomedical pluralism. Different
information is being given to the iyomas forming mistrust.Also, iyomas base their knowledge on
experience, and the information they were being told was not congruent with their personal experiences
as midwives. Midwives have relationships with private physicians and might refer their clients to these
networks. Need to recognize iyomas as political actors. Berry Chapter 6:
– Berry's analytical division between a) midwives' patterns of referral and b)women's decision-
making and practices is “artificial” : these social dynamics are “mutually constitutive”. (162)
– Social context and relationship between the midwives and their client families
– Ethnographic insights into limitations of global health interventions
– Evidence for Fassin's argument that “most health issues [...] remain national, even local” (96)
Didier Fassin on Global Health
– Health as “global common good” - universality continually contested – significant disjuncture
between the rhetoric of global health and what happens on the ground.
– Semantics: connoting both security and humanitarian responses – seemingly opposed
motivations actually co-exist in the realm of global health.
– In understandings of health (global) there tends to be an opposition of biological/social
understandings of health. Biomedical understandings versus inequities (social) understandings.
Much more weight on biomedical understandings and the need to act medically.
– “Politics of Life”
– Complimentary to biopower
– “matter and meaning” of life
– Ethics (rather than technologies) of governing life
– Ideological assertions of the “value” of life, cf. (example, right to life of the foetus in anti-
– Unequal “worth” attached to particular lives in practice
– Dichotomy between value and worth
– Human biological existences opposed to social life, or biography, or human dignity. Biological
understandings of life (he