This workshop will examine the process and politics of translation in the formation, dissemination and utilisation of components of medical knowledge between Europe and the rest of the world.
This workshop will examine the process and politics of translation in the formation, dissemination and utilisation of medical knowledge between Europe and the rest of the world. A classic focus of medical anthropology has been interactions between biomedicine (an indigenous medicine of modern Europe) and traditional medicine outside Europe. We will explore interrelations between European medical traditions and knowledges of health and the body, and their counterparts (both traditional and biomedical) elsewhere. This includes not just the export of European knowledge and practice but the import of non-European elements into the European; one current and longstanding example is the expropriation of traditional pharmaceuticals by an act of translation into European pharmacopoeias. <br/>The globalisation of biomedicine is seen in many other arenas. Medical research originating in Europe is increasingly being undertaken in developing countries, especially clinical trials and biobanking (the collection of biological material for genomic research, such as cord blood banking for stem cell therapy). Together with such initiatives, which are based on particular European notions of risk, vulnerability and control, come regulatory institutions such as ethics committees. How are these notions of risk and the future, or ethical concepts that accompany public debate on these developments in Europe and are based on European assumptions about personhood, autonomy and choice, being adapted and translated for local use? Bioethics and epidemiology are just two domains for exploring linkages between different configurations of medical knowledge. Other fields might include the diffusion of medical techniques (acupuncture, transplant surgery), technologies, pharmaceuticals, and marketing and regulatory mechanisms. Together with these issues, we invite reflection on the personal politics of researching medicine as Europeans and non-Europeans at home and abroad.