Bioethics Blogs

Medicine Anthropology Theory

Medicine Anthropology Theory, or MAT (pronounced em-ay-tee), is an international open-access journal in the flourishing field of medical anthropology. We are a reincarnation of the Dutch journal Medische Antropologie, which ran for twenty-eight years under the guidance of founding editor, Sjaak van der Geest. We hope to continue the strong tradition of solid ethnography that characterized the original journal, but we also want to ‘open up’ the journal and the field in several directions.  

The new English-language name points to one important direction. In our opinion, the field of medical anthropology has been largely defined by North American takes on the subject. This dominance has come about despite a strong presence of medical anthropology in European countries for at least thirty years. In the field of medical anthropology, the metropole is dispersed across a series of mainly elite institutions based in North America, leaving European elite institutions to make up a semiperiphery, and a handful of institutions in Latin America, Asia, and Africa positioned further out in the periphery, some even beyond the pale. To stretch the metaphor a bit further, in typical centre–periphery relations, information and ideas tend to move in one way: North American medical anthropology significantly shapes medical anthropology in the rest of the world, but it is much less common for information and ideas to move in the opposite direction. MAT wants to encourage ‘North–South’ and ‘South–South’ exchanges, to be sure. Following Jean and John Comaroff (2012), we strongly believe that the geographical South is and must be more than just a site of application, experimentation, and intervention.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.