Bioethics Blogs

Summer Roundup: The Ethnographic Case, Part 2 by Deanna Day

In June, we debuted an extensive new series on Somatosphere, The Ethnographic Case. Edited by Emily Yates-Doerr and Christine Labuski, the series is organized on an expanding, virtual bookCASE, with each individual piece expanding our understanding of case studies — what they are, what they can teach us, and what work they do shaping both our objects of study and our academic fields.

 

“He didn’t blow us up”—routine violence and non-event as case

“This case is a story that a soldier told me. I call her Kelly, and she said it was ‘the craziest story I was gonna get’ from her. So for her it was an extreme, a worst case, but also a kind of telos of conditions she lived with and feelings she felt every day in occupied Iraq. It was a case of something not happening. As is fitting for those tensions of normalcy and emergency and rule and suspension that characterize state violence, it was both exceptional and part of a pattern: the pattern of soldiers’ embodied terror and vulnerability (even as they surely inspired terror in vulnerable others) and the pattern of the mechanisms that shaped their thought and action. It was a case of something that might have happened to Kelly but didn’t, that she might have done but didn’t do, and of things that were treated as if they were real even when they turned out not to be.” —Ken MacLeish

 

What’s in a name?

“‘You can write if you want,’ Estrella gestures to my notebook that sits on the table.

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.