Because They’re Closer to the Ground: Migrant Farmworkers, Health Care, and the Invisibilization of Inequalities, by Seth Holmes

Seth Holmes (Medical anthropology, Paoli Calmettes Institute/IMéRA fellow 2020/2021) presented his research topics at an internal seminar at the SESSTIM (Sciences économiques et sociales de la santé & traitement de l’information médicale (Timone faculty, Marseille)), on October 9, 2020. Find his presentation in video.

Seth HOLMES is Associate Professor and Chair, Medical Anthropology, Society and Environment / University of California Berkeley – Holder of the Paoli Calmettes Institute/IMéRA Chair in Integrated Cancerology (sept 2020 – Juillet 2021). His research topic at IMéRA is « Training for Unequal Care: Medical Students, Social Inequalities and the Clinical Gaze ».

Watch the video :

Description :

This project explores the ways in which physicians are trained to perceive and respond to social difference and social inequalities in their apprenticeship for the work of medical care among patients with diverse illnesses, injuries and diseases, including importantly cancers. This work utilizes several years of first-hand, in-depth ethnographic research with medical students, interns, residents and their attending physician and nurse colleagues in order to explore especially the ways in which health professional subjectivation leads to the visibility and invisibility of certain forms of social difference and inequality in relation to health and health care. The proposed book manuscript will analyze and theorize the process of clinical subjectivation – to use Foucault’s term for the production of a particular kind of subject – among medical trainees, specifically focused on the ways in which they are explicitly and implicitly taught to understand and respond to the sociocultural, political and economic categories in which their patients and they themselves are positioned. The book will conclude with a critical consideration of the new framework of “structural competency” as it emerges from the medical social sciences in the U.S. and Europe to impact and intervene in health professional training.

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