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A Heart for the Work: Journeys through an African Medical by Claire L. Wendland

By Claire L. Wendland

Burnout is usual between medical professionals within the West, so one could suppose clinical profession in Malawi, one of many poorest international locations on the planet, may position a ways higher pressure at the idealism that drives many medical professionals. yet, as A middle for the Work makes transparent, Malawian clinical scholars discover ways to confront poverty creatively, experiencing fatigue and frustration but in addition pleasure and dedication on their strategy to turning into physicians. the 1st ethnography of clinical education within the international South, Claire L. Wendland’s e-book is a relocating and perceptive examine medication in an international the place the transnational circulation of individuals and ideas creates either devastation and possibility.

Wendland, a doctor anthropologist, performed wide interviews and labored in wards, clinics, and working theaters along the coed medical professionals whose tales she relates. From the relative calm of Malawi’s collage of drugs to the turbulence of teaching at hospitals with gravely ailing sufferers and dramatically insufficient offers, employees, and expertise, Wendland’s paintings unearths the best way those younger medical professionals interact the contradictions in their conditions, laying off new mild on debates in regards to the results of clinical education, the influence of conventional therapeutic, and the needs of medicine.

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Extra resources for A Heart for the Work: Journeys through an African Medical School

Sample text

There is more to the story, of course. A couple of months on the wards in an African hospital, compelling introduction 29 and troubling as they were, did not in isolation make this project one for which I would return to school, struggle to learn another language at which I demonstrated no natural talent, repeatedly hazard Malawi’s hospitals (and what is probably worse, its public transit), and ultimately change careers. It has become a convention of ethnographic writing to spend some time exploring the social and cultural positioning of the anthropologist, in part as one way of allowing readers to interrogate the value of the work.

They are so pluralistic that nearly any generalization about African healing risks being an overgeneralization. From the cults of affliction that arrived in southeast Africa centuries before the colonial powers did, to the Pentecostal prophet healers of today’s Malawi, many healers have been religious practitioners (and vice versa). They have also often been figures of considerable political influence, acting to bolster or destabilize the authority of the state (Janzen 1982; Luedke 2006). Healing in southeast Africa is typically public, collective, imbued with moral purpose, and sometimes violent.

Int/hrh/wdms/en/. , MD, MBBS, DO) vary. postcolonial medicine has reinforced concepts of disease that look much like the individualistic, mechanistic, decontextualized, and depoliticized explanations Northern medical students learn. 37 This kind of collective activism, quite often in the name of medicine, does not look like the apolitical “neutrality” of the North. What does it look like? Biomedical practices in the global South, and perhaps especially in Africa, are often constructed as deeply philosophically divided from indigenous healing practices that stress the social nature of illness and healing (Comaroff 1982).

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