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2nd ANNOUNCEMENT, The 4th Biennal Conference of the European Network of Medical Anthropology at Home

2004/12/17    SUSANNE

The fourth Medical Anthropology at Home (MAAH) meeting will take place on the island of Seili on the south west coast of Finland on March 16-18, 2006. It is promoted by the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki, Finland, the Doctoral School for Public Health Research, University of
Helsinki and the Health Services Research Programme of the Academy of Finland who also act as the organisers.

Other institutions who have been active promoters are Fondazione Angelo Celli per una cultura della salute (Perugia, Italy; meeting organisers in 2003), Universita Rovira i Virgili, Departamento d’antropologia social y filosofia (Tarragona, Spain; meeting organisers in 2001), Universiteit van Amsterdam, Medical Anthropology Unit (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; meeting organisers in Zeist 1998).

The overall theme of the meeting is:

Coming Home: From biomedicine to everyday health issues

Illness and health are issues intimately intertwined with human experience. Throughout the ages humans have sought ways to alleviate distress and explain why we are afflicted with illness and misfortune. Research conducted in the field of medical anthropology focuses to a large degree on clinical settings and human responses to health care interventions. For most individuals health and illness reaches beyond the clinical setting and is part of everyday life long after and long before they visit someone who can heal them and alleviate their distress. The organisers of this conference want to bring the issue of health and illness back home, to the sphere of the home and to the quotidian acts we engage in to remain healthy. Based on the experiences of earlier conferences of the MAAH network we have picked up a number of sub-themes that have carried particular salience such as the methodological issues of medical anthropology conducted “at home”, the concept of culture within psychiatry in an increasingly multi-ethnic Europe, and, experiences of health and illness in quotidian settings:

1. Rethinking home: developments after Zeist 1998.

The issue of medical anthropology conducted in the researcher’s own country is as central as it was to the group of medical anthropologists who met in Zeist in 1998. Now is the time to take stock and consider how the “at home” issue has developed since the first meeting of the network. What are the central methodological and ethical concerns that have emerged and why is research conducted “at home” significant today? The organisers encourage scholars to consider how the concept of culture in health, illness and medicine has evolved and what its role is within research in medical anthropology today. What methodological challenges face the field and how has the issue of ethnography fared over the past ten years? What type of ethnography is produced within the field of medical anthropology? What challenges, limits and possibilities surround the production of ethnography?

2. Current problems in the anthropology of psychiatry

In the past anthropology has contributed to the conceptualisation of “culture” in European psychiatry when mental health systems were confronted with persons from other parts of the world, from Europe and abroad (former colonies). This has led to a static conceptualisation, which lies at the basis of many problems in mental health care for immigrant and ethnic groups. How can anthropology contribute to the re-conceptualisation of culture in psychiatry? The aim of the conference is also to tackle the medical power of definition; the issue of normality and abnormality; the questions of psychotropes and use of medicines in solving life problems; the issue of control in society by psychiatry; mental hospitals and historical developments, but also psychiatry as a field to obtain knowledge about society.

3. Outside biomedicine: Perceptions of illnesses, caring and health care in everyday settings.

Health and illness are only part of human misery. Hegemonic concepts of health conceal what people do to remain healthy and sane in very uncertain political, economic and social contexts outside of the biomedical framework. The perceptions and concepts of health and illness of mundane people may differ to a large extent from these hegemonic concepts, which is why ideas surrounding caring in health care settings need to be discussed. Everyday theories of health, illness and caring shed light on the manner in which human values and ways of dealing with difficult life situations are incorporated into the totality of human life. How does one come to terms with illness and distress in an everyday setting? What do individuals do to maintain good health?

The medical anthropology at home (MAAH) initiative is a network of, and open to
anthropologists from the European countries working mainly in their own country. The purpose of the network and the biennial meetings connected to it is to act as an open forum for the exchange of ideas and information of a theoretical, methodological and empirical nature through regular gatherings. The meetings have followed a set format during all three previous meetings (Zeist, the Netherlands 1998; Tarragona, Spain 2001; Perugia, Italy 2003): participants are requested to submit full papers before the meeting. No parallel sessions are organised during the meeting and a limited number of participants (30 in total) are selected.

The official language of the meeting in Seili, Finland will be English and abstracts and papers must be submitted in English.

ABSTRACT DEADLINE: 31st January, 2005

Abstracts can be submitted to the conference coordinator Susanne Ådahl at:, the official conference email address. OBSERVE: Please clearly indicate in your abstract which sub-theme your paper belongs under. Those who have submitted an abstract will be informed about whether it has been accepted by April 30, 2005.

Pre-inscription can be completed on the pre-inscription form posted on the official website of the conference at available on the page by March 2005. In conjunction with the pre-inscription procedure you are requested to pay the inscription costs and complete your room booking.

The inscription costs are:
- Senior: 180 euro
- Junior: 100 euro

The organisers will apply for funding and the exact costs for the participants are not yet confirmed. Participants will be lodged at the research centre for the Archipelago Sea on the island of Seili (For information on the location please check out ). A limited number of single and double rooms are available and they will be distributed at a first come first serve basis. Otherwise you will be booked into a double, three or four person (single sex) room. Prices of room and board will be posted on the official website of the conference http//: by March 2005.

PAPER DEADLINE: December 15, 2005

Papers should be submitted in word 95, 98 or 2000 and should be sent to the official conference email address . Please note that papers should not exceed 3500-3750 words (approx. 15 pages). Papers will be placed on-line (using a password system) by January 15, 2006.

Please confirm your attendance to the conference coordinator Susanne Ådahl at .

All other information pertaining to the meeting will be posted on the website (http//:

Contact information:

Susanne Ådahl
Sosiologian laitos, tutkijat
PL 35 (Vironk. 1)
00014 Helsingin yliopisto
fax: +358-9-19124750
tel: +358-9-19123765

See also:


2005/01/28 NEW JOURNAL: "Health, sickness and culture"

2004/12/17 PhD Course in Medical Anthropology in Tarragona, Spain

2004/12/17 2nd ANNOUNCEMENT, The 4th Biennal Conference of the ...

2004/10/28 The Fourth Biennal Conference of the European Network ...

2004/03/22 RE:The concept of suffering

2004/02/29 RE:The concept of suffering

2004/02/29 The concept of suffering

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