Anthropology of cure and recovery: collaboration and chronicity

Sylvie Fainzang (INSERM (Cermes3))
Vinh-kim Nguyen
Judith Hermann-Mesfen (UMR 912 SESSTIM)
Start time:
3 August, 2014 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel explores how notions of cure or recovery are produced by and enable collaborative practices across social and ontological domains. We are specifically interested in how these practices enable the commensurability, standardisation, normalisation, and the circulation of workable knowledge.

Long abstract:

Relatively little work has examined how cure/recovery as well as chronic bio/social forms of affliction generate collaborations at multiple levels: between caregivers, patients and social groups and in between each socially and culturally located entity. The workshop examines two aspects of conceptions of cure or recovery: (1) what is at stake when these notions are used to enable collaboration and (2) how these collaborations produce/construct notions of cure and/or recovery. Cure and/or recovery are considered here as processes which vanquish disease (or affliction), by achieving a "normal", "healthy", or "well" state understood in biological, spiritual and/or social terms. We are interested in how the notion of cure/recovery is used to mobilise a variety of actors, whether from the biomedical profession or social and spiritual domains, and how these forms of collaboration across potentially incommensurable domains, are stabilized and made to work. Moreover, each of these diverse actors has representations, conceptions of cure and/or remission. Those conceptions produce and exchange knowledge on cure/recovery, we question how mobilization and collaboration - within and between groups of actors - participate in defining notions of cure/recovery. Notions of cure/recovery are most potent in the setting chronic and seemingly intractable biological and social conditions. We will also examine how notions of chronicity and "quality of life" circulate across biological, psychological and social domains, and inform both the discourse and practice related to cure and recovery, for example in relation to cancer, HIV, psychiatric illness, addiction and social marginalisation.