Research in the Clinic

Speaker: Dr Alice Street # The University of Edinburgh

11th Mar 2013

15:00 - 16:30

Seminar Room, Old Surgeons' Hall


What does science do to place? This paper explores the interactions between the different but overlapping assemblages of persons, technologies, institutions and epistemological and ethical frameworks that constitute a public hospital in Papua New Guinea as a place of biomedicine and as a place of science. It follows the transformation of Madang Hospital on the North East Coast of Papua New Guinea from a ‘failing public hospital’ to a ‘global research hospital’ and the politics of infrastructure that have accompanied this transformation. It argues that ethical regulations have become crucial in governing relationships between research and clinical infrastructures but have ultimately failed to integrate well funded medical research into a resource-poor public health system. The result is research that draws on the exigencies of poverty for its epistemological claims, but refuses an ethical engagement with those conditions in the present.

Speaker Biography

Alice Street’s current research focuses on relationships between governance, biomedicine and development in Papua New Guinea with particular attention to biomedical institutions as sites of ‘state-building’. Her other research interests include relationships between emerging markets and public health in the global south, the anthropology of Christianity, and the anthropology of interdisciplinarity and collaboration. She joined the School of Social and Political Science in 2012, having previously been a Fellow at the University of Sussex.