Accepted Paper:

Getting into public debate when there is no such thing. Medical anthropology in non-democratic context  


Claire Beaudevin (CNRS, Cermes3)

Paper short abstract:

This paper offers an account (and many interrogations) about the conduct of long-term medical anthropology research and the relevant dissemination of its finding in non-democratic settings.

Paper long abstract:

My work deals with medical genetics and genomics, inherited disorders, clinical interactions, public health and national identity. The main relevant arena for me to go public and try to engage in relevant policy processes is the Middle-Eastern country where I work, i.e. a non-democratic one where matters of social science research are under governmental scrutiny.

This paper is the story of a long-lasting uneasiness and manifold arbitrations. This discomfort takes place in a country without political parties and without NGOs, where media and the Internet are controlled. And this very discomfort is due to several tensions: between riskily going public and cautiously staying under the official radars, between being able to continue working and not being issued a visa anymore, between staying an outsider and collaborating with governmental bodies, between advocating for patients and helping them from 'backstage'.

On this backdrop, this paper is also, of course, the story of the usual misunderstandings about so called "qualitative research", of the difficulties to convey a clear idea of our epistemology and its relevancy to non anthropologists, and of another tension: between thick ethnography and drafting 'recommendations'.

Panel P099
Going public: writing and speaking outside the ivory tower