Bioethics Blogs

Conference review: MAGic 2015 Anthropology and Global Health: Interrogating Theory, Policy and Practice by Josien de Klerk

“Global Health is like a containership. The multiple actors —international and local NGOs, humanitarian organisations, scientists, activists, politicians — operate the tugboats, attempting to nudge, tug and pull the ship into its dock, where it will be offloaded and transported, i.e. implemented, by those who were able to demonstrate the greatest technical skill and advantage. […]As anthropologists, we must continue to engage in the Sisyphean task of trying to steer the Global Health container ship, but we should also not forget that we are on the ship, nor that it is often easier to shape both the trade routes and shipping manifesto before the ship gets under way.” –Eileen Moyer

This metaphor, brought forward by Eileen Moyer in a panel on containment organized by Alex Nading and Rebecca Marsland, is just one of the many creative proposals about the relationship between global health and medical anthropology that circulated at MAGic2015. The conference, jointly organized by the EASA Medical Anthropology Network and the RAI Medical Anthropology Committee, was held at Sussex University September 9-11. The MAGic conference aimed to interrogate the paradigms and practices of Global Health.

From Wednesday to Friday, opening keynote lectures were followed by six parallel panel sessions for a total of 52 panels and lunchtime events, including the Sussex Glocal Health Hive, the annual meeting of the EASA Medical Anthropology Network and a Wellcome trust presentation on funding opportunities. The conference drew 350 participants, of whom almost a third were young scholars working in Global Health. The third meeting of its kind — in 2011 the EASA medical anthropology network held a conference on the theme of medical pluralism in Rome and in 2013 EASA and SMA joined to discuss “Engagements and Encounters” in Tarragona — the conference again offered a rich platform for formal and informal debate, the start of new collaborations and initiatives, and the space for interdisciplinary engagements.

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.