Register for the workshop HERE
Registration deadline: June 1st 2021

MAYS Discussion Workshop

We are announcing a call for participants for our third workshop in the MAYS Method Workshops Series – a discussion workshop on Healthcare and the State that will take place on the 23rd of August 2021 from 14:00 to 17:00 CET. The Workshops Series aims to provide spaces for learning, discussion, structured debate, knowledge-sharing and mutual support leading up to our next 12th Annual MAYS Annual Meeting in Warsaw in August.

Dr. Giuseppe Troccoli, University of Southampton,
Dr. Letizia Bonanno, University of Kent,

MAYS Discussion workshop: Healthcare and the State// August 23rd 2021, 14:00-17:00 CET

Aligning with the ongoing discussion on care and the state and departing from the idea of biomedicine as a crucial component to post-pandemic statecraft projects, this workshop wants to explore what contribution medical anthropology can give to our understanding of the relationship between the state and those who contest, comply and respond to its services and discourses. We invite original contributions focusing on research empirical outcomes or exploring theoretical possibilities which revolve around public health measures, policies, discourses and their reception.

Inspired by instances of compliance, adjustments and active resistance as they emerged over the last year in response to public health measures, discourses and practices to contain the Covid-19 Pandemic, we are interested in exploring not only how these have been received, but also how they have magnified people’s pre-existing disenchantments and lack of trust in the state. We suggest that people’s distrust toward public health measures signals the very failure of the public health systems, hindered by (at least) a decade of disinvestment in public services, austerity measures and privatizations.

Crucially though, during the Covid-19 pandemic, state-promoted public health discourses have often leveraged on and appealed to individual responsibility while, at the same time, promoting an ethic of public utility, social responsibility and collective duty to care for each other. As a result, uncanny relations have been established between the public and the private, the collective and the personal. Although this tendency became all the more apparent during the current pandemic, appeals to individual responsibility as a mode of public health are not any new: in fact they represent the very core of neoliberal discourses on health and healthcare. These contrasting appeals, we contend, often disguise the progressive withdrawal of the state from matters of public health. However, such appeals as well as the biomedical and care practices they entice are rarely straightforward. In fact, they are often met with scepticism when not openly opposed and contested.

The workshop wants to push forward the discussion of compliance, conflicts, frictions, and resistances which emerge in response to state- promoted public health measures. We suggest that these grassroots, societal and contentious responses offer important margins to rethink the political salience of biomedicine and its entanglement with state power. Medical anthropology is indeed well positioned to explore these instances. The workshop welcomes reflections and critical analyses  that explore the reception of public discourses and practices of care, health and public health within and beyond Europe. We invite contributions focusing on the current COvid-19 public health issues. The workshop will bring together eight PhD and Early Career researchers working on such issues.   Attendants’ pre-circulated short papers (2500 words max) will be discussed during the workshop which will be moderated and chaired by Giuseppe Troccoli and Letizia Bonanno (conveners).

Guidelines and Format

The workshop will be open to PhD and Early Career researchers’ submissions, based on ongoing or completed research. Participants will be asked to submit a title and abstract (250 words) for a proposed paper and a short bio (150 words). Eight abstracts will be selected  according to their relevance to the proposed workshop theme. We aim at creating a balanced group of participants, in terms of career stage and research interests.

The selected participants will be asked to pre-circulate their full-length papers (2500 words maximum) by July 31st 2021. Participants will be required to read each other’s work in advance so that the workshop will be entirely dedicated to discussing and sharing ideas, perspectives and critiques. The participants’ bios will be pre-circulated as well, together with their full-length papers. The biographical notes are intended to familiarize participants with each other’s broader scholarly interests and research.

The workshop intends to provide space for different perspectives to emerge while allowing each participant to discuss at length and to confidently share insights and ideas that might still be in the first stages of development. Our motivation to restrict the number of participants to 8 is informed by our will to foster fruitful and productive discussions.

Registration HERE

Deadline for registration and abstract submission: June 1st, 2021
Notification of acceptance: June 15th, 2021
Paper submission deadline: July 31st, 2021

Date: August 23rd 2021, 14:00-17:00 CET