This panel considers the role of trust (inter-personal, institutional, trust in technologies, etc.) - as well as mistrust, doubt, misplaced trust - in therapeutic encounters and transactions, against a global context of healthcare deregulation, fragmentation, uncertainty and risk.
Any therapeutic encounter or transaction depends (arguably) on a degree of trust being established, be it inter-personal trust (e.g. between patient and doctor/healer), institutional trust (e.g. trust in healthcare or regulatory systems) and/or trust in medicines or other technologies/techniques. However, in a global context of increasing deregulation and fragmentation, navigating the resultant complex, uncertain and often digitally-mediated healthcare landscapes becomes a considerable challenge, with potentially serious risks if trust is misplaced. Trust is a key element in many pressing contemporary global health concerns: for example, in relation to pharmaceuticals (and particularly the growing threat of antimicrobial drug resistance), we might think about how people obtain, evaluate and manage multiple sources of information, confront risks of counterfeit medicines or navigate the often opaque world of unregulated internet pharmacies. In this panel, we invite contributions that consider the role of trust (as well as mistrust, doubt and misplaced trust) in therapeutic encounters and transactions around the world. We particularly welcome papers that combine rich empirical data with novel theoretical approaches from across (and even beyond) the full range of anthropological enquiry.