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Accepted Paper:

The social and political life of medicines: R&D, circulations and governance issues from China-related context  
Evelyne Micollier (IRD (French Research Institute for Sustainable Development))

Paper short abstract:

Medicines circulate following complex trajectories involving transnational networks and actors: the social life of medicines from basic research/R&D processes to consumption modes&sites can be traced, raising political and governance issues along its route (cases taken from China-related context)

Paper long abstract:

Medicines circulate following complex trajectories involving transnational networks and actors, bringing to light "long networks" (or short ones) and producing "hybrid objects" (Latour 1991; applied to the anthropology of medicines, Micollier, 2013) far away or not so from sites of R&D and production in line with their degree of integration into the global health market. The "social life" of things (Appadurai 1986) with a focus on medicines (Whyte et al. 2002) can be traced from research process to consumption modes and sites: along its route, it raises a number of political and governance issues so much so that a "political life" of medicines and medicines taken as commodities, can be considered. In today China, better compliance to international and national guidelines gradually implemented in the country, and of course marketing strategies, partly explain recent changes in medicines regulatory framework and regimes, assessing a governance shift. In the meantime Chinese officials gained key positions at WHO, a power-shift signal in the international organization; therefore a relative displacement of sovereignty in favour of China among other international actors is at work in this domain at a global scale. Drawing on multi-sites ethnography, case studies and documentary research, my paper is about R&D, circulation of medicines, political and governance issues from China-related context.

Panel P136
The political life of commodities
  Session 1