Main logo


The Nordic 2002

 Plenary papers

 Public Health
 University of Helsinki

Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
P.O. Box 4, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki
E-Mail:, Telephone: +358-9-191 23915, +358-9-2989516
Main page  >  People  > Juha Soivio  
 Print this page

Juha Soivio, MA

Research interests: Heart disease, experience of illness, biomedicine, technology, anthropology at home

Juha Soivio

B: Biomedicine and experiences: the construction(s) of ischaemic heart disease in Finnish contexts (2002 - 2004)

My current project examines the meanings of ischaemic heart disease in medical, institutional and everyday contexts. How are is meaning bestowed in different contexts and how do the cultural ideologies and the social practices of health care system and everyday life become embodied as ways of being sick and carrying illness? Ischaemic heart disease is a major health problem in Finland, causing 1/3 of all deaths alone. It has been the target of large scale national programs since 1960's. As a specific, publicly notified disease entity, ischaemic heart disease exists not only in particular individuals, but serves as a structuring factor in social situations, as a social actor and mediator. The scale of the problem and the intensive agency of diverse institutions dealing with it provides the background for my focus on how the category of ischaemic heart disease is filled by the sufferers themselves. I have analysed the treatment of an infarction, and the transformations related to it, as a ritual. At the moment I am working on how the ritual messages of the treatment coincide with local concepts of health and illness, autonomy and morals in everyday settings and individual suffering.

Methodologically my study is based on participant observation, interviews, and the analysis of medical and health educational material. I have done 8 moths of participant observation in the emergency room, cardiac care unit, and the medical ward of a local hospital to grasp the realities of the health care settings. I have interviewed hospital staff and patients in the hospital and in their homes. The results will be published as a monograph in 2004. My study is part of Marja-Liisa Honkasalo's project Expressions of Suffering -Ethnographies of Illness experiences in Finnish Contexts", which is funded by the Academy of Finland.

Soivio, Juha 1998. Pitkäaikaissairauteen sopeutuminen, sairauden selittäminen ja lääketiede haavaista paksusuolentulehdusta sairastavien kertomuksisssa. (Coping, explaining, and biomedicine in narratives of colitis ulcerosa) Unpublished MA thesis, University of Helsinki, Department of cultural anthropology.

Soivio, Juha 1999.Biomedicine and the Experience of Chronic Illness: Ulcerative Colitis, a Lived-With-Illness. Suomen Antropologi 4:93-113.

Soivio. Juha 2002. Crossroads between transformation and stability. Hospitalisation in Finnish cardiac care as an example. AM, Rivista Della Società Italiana Di Antropologia Medica 13-14, 289-310.

Soivio, Juha 2003. Lääketieteellinen teknologia ja sairauden kokemus (Biomedical technology and illness experience). In: Honkasalo & Kangas & Seppälä (eds.), Sairauden kokemus (Illness experience), SKS. (in press)


- Notions of responsibility in acute myocardial infarction. III Nordic Seminar on Medical Anthropology, March 20-23, Ilomantsi.
- Constructing Morality Through Illness. The Case of Coronary Heart Disease. Anthropology and the Health of Populations: Global Trends and Local Contexts. The 3rd Annual International Socail Anthropology Conference, June 20-22, London, UK.
- Onko sepelvaltimotaudilla sukupuolta? (does Ischaemic heart disease have a gender?). Terveydenhuoltotutkimus 2002, 15.9., Tampere.

Lectures and teaching:
- Sosiaaliantropologia (Social Anthropology). A course in January-February, Työväenakatemia, Avoin yliopisto.
- Sepelvaltimotaudin kokemus (The experience of ischaemic heart disease). Ikäihmisten yliopisto, Hämeenlinna.
- Kulttuuriset sairausselitykset (Cultural explanations for illness). An assistent on a course held in spring at the University of Helsinki, Department of Anthropology.
- Kulttuurin tutkimus omassa kulttuurissa. Esimerkkinä sepelvaltimotauti. (Anthropology at home. Ischaemic heart disease as an example) 14.11., Åbo Akademi.

- A member of the organising committee for the III Nordic Seminar on Medical Anthropology, March 20-23, Ilomantsi.


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

Copyright © 2002 Mika Lassander
powered by ZOPE