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Medicine and Power: Medicine and Medical Discourses in Egypt

Medicine and Power: Medicine and Medical Discourses in Egypt

Project Description
My research focuses on developments in medicine in the Egyptian society. Over the past few years people’s critique of biomedicine in the Egypt has increased among a certain privileged class, who have begun to seek alternatives to biomedicine. Paradoxically, as Egyptians have become more vocal about their discontents, they have also become increasingly dependent on biomedical services. This is especially true among the rural class who had previously sought treatment through traditional healing channels. On one hand, scientific medicine has answered many questions related to diseases and illnesses in Egypt. On the other hand, the power relation between doctors and their patients has increased dramatically.

In the Egyptian society, there is a great deal of discourse characterizing doctors as abusive, and doctors are often portrayed as exploiting their position as physicians to exercise excessive power over their patients in order to control and oppress them. Doctors are also responsible for many cases of malpractice, and malpractice is an issue that has not received sufficient state or theoretical attention in Egypt. This kind of behavior, I argue, is related to how medical doctors learn medicine and how they are socialized to become medical doctors.

In order to understand this power relation between the doctors and their patients in the Egyptian society, I am conducting my fieldwork in Egypt among medical students, patients, nurses and doctors as well as collecting people’s accounts and experiences with biomedicine and doctors.

Mustafa Abdalla

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  • Ethnologie, FU Berlin, Südasien, Orissa, Naturkatastrophen
SFB 1171 Affective Societies
Berlin Southern Theory Lecture