By Alice Street
Biomedicine in an risky position is the tale of people's fight to make biomedicine paintings in a public health facility in Papua New Guinea. it's a tale encompassing the background of sanatorium infrastructures as websites of colonial and postcolonial governance, the simultaneous creation of Papua New Guinea as a website of worldwide scientific study and public wellbeing and fitness, and people's encounters with city associations and biomedical applied sciences. In Papua New Guinea, a century of nation development has weakened already insufficient colonial infrastructures, and folks adventure the medical institution as an area of institutional, clinical, and ontological instability.
In the hospital's clinics, biomedical practitioners fight amid serious source shortages to make the diseased physique obvious and knowable to the scientific gaze. That fight is entangled with makes an attempt by means of medical professionals, nurses, and sufferers to make themselves seen to exterior others—to kinfolk, medical specialists, international scientists, politicians, and foreign improvement workers—as socially recognizable and precious folks. the following health facility infrastructures become relational applied sciences which are essentially fragile but in addition supply the most important possibilities for making humans noticeable and knowable in new, unpredictable, and robust methods.
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Additional resources for Biomedicine in an Unstable Place: Infrastructure and Personhood in a Papua New Guinean Hospital
When I first arrived at Madang Hospital in 2003 I was surprised by the level of access I was granted. In the medical ward, where I carried out the majority of my research, I joined doctors as they carried out ward rounds and consultation clinics and nurses as they carried out observations, distributed medicines, and tended to patients in their beds. I followed the movement of patients, beds, medicines, bodily tissues, and documents to and from consultation clinics, the pathology laboratory, the operating theater, the Outpatients Department, and other hospital wards.
In Papua New Guinea, still administered by the Australian department for external territories up until 1975, hospitals in the postwar period nonetheless became important indicators of the colonial administration’s commitment to the development and eventual independence of the territory and to the health of the Papua New Guinean (as opposed to solely European) population. Amidst concerns that a Papua New Guinean nation did not exist and that the state was perceived as a distant, foreign entity by the country’s rural inhabitants, the hospital became a crucial site in which administrators hoped to nurture civic allegiances, construct new publics, and demonstrate the presence, power, and benevolence of the modern state.
His inability to operate in either is experienced in the material deterioration of his body. While doctors employ biomedical technologies to build up knowledge about and intervene in the biological body, patients engage in processes such as X-rays or ultrasound as “relational technologies” that mediate white people’s power and agency. In a reversal of Foucauldian critiques of biomedical technologies, the chapter describes how patients perceive such processes as crucial 36 Chapter 1 © Street, Alice, Oct 01, 2014, Biomedicine in an Unstable Place : Infrastructure and Personhood in a Papua New Guinean Hospital Duke University Press, Durham, ISBN: 9780822376668 means by which they might make themselves visible and recognizable to doctors as treatable subjects.
Biomedicine in an Unstable Place: Infrastructure and Personhood in a Papua New Guinean Hospital by Alice Street