IX Medical Anthropology at Home (MAAH) Conference

The 9th Conference of Medical Anthropology At Home will take place at Malangen Brygger, near Tromsø (Norway), June 2nd- 5th 2016.

"Configurations of diagnostic processes, practices and evidence"

The intention with this conference is to critically explore the many dimensions of ‘diagnosis’, its functions and consequences, and to uncover the centrality of ‘diagnosis’ for research in medical anthropology and diverse forms of medicine. We hope that the conference will contribute with a rethinking of empirical and conceptual phenomena on technology, regulations, power relations and interactions of the many parties involved in defining and responding to diagnoses, and in so doing to provide insight into existing and changing values, configurations, structures and contexts of specific social and cultural settings that surround and implicate diagnostic processes, practices and evidence.

Given the ongoing medical developments and the concurrent changing social realities for patients, relatives, healthcare professionals and others alike, we see a need to critically engage with and analyse the configurations of diagnostic processes, practices and evidence.

The conference has three interrelated aims:

  1. To place ‘diagnoses’ centre-stage - as a concept and practices in-the-making
  2. To attend to the multi-faceted aspects of how diagnostic processes, practices and evidence are produced
  3. To point to the dual ‘location’ of diagnosis in anthropology and medicine, and its bridging role between the two disciplines

Diagnoses are fundamental classification tools in medicine and work at several interrelated levels – as categories of illness and disease, as an organisation of illness, as processes of creating social order, as cultural representations of normalcy and deviance, and as legislative and administrative justifications. That is, diagnoses are central to guiding medical care and treatment, while, at the same time, they also influence individuals’ illness experiences, care practices, identities, and relational processes. Diagnoses, furthermore, are appropriated in different ways and may be negotiated and conceptualized in new categorisations by patients, health providers, organisations and communities.