Accepted paper:

Transnational medical research and development: a productive contextual entanglement?


Birgitte Bruun (University of Copenhagen)

Paper short abstract:

People living in a high density area in Lusaka often engage in transnational medical research projects as they do in development interventions. The paper examines aspects of this entanglement and discusses some social and political implications of it.

Paper long abstract:

In debates about how study subjects engage in medical research the common contextual entanglements between health care services and research procedures remains a contentious issue. The issue gains additional dimensions when transnational medical research increasingly enrols study subjects from less privileged settings where people have difficulties in accessing quality health services. This ethnographic paper will examine how people living in a high density area of Lusaka, Zambia, engage in and move between transnational medical research projects and other interventions by the state, NGOs and churches. The paper will focus on the way people, well aware of the particular purposes of medical research projects, entangle research projects with development projects, and how this entanglement opens new (temporary) spaces for learning something, for livelihoods, for volunteering, and for critical engagement as citizens of Zambia and the world. The paper will close with some reflections about social and political implications of this entanglement.

panel P61
In the name of progress, disease control and elimination: medical research, global funds and local people