Life or Profit?

Structural Violence, Moral Psychology and Pharmaceutical Politics

in Anthropology in Action

This article explores the antagonism expressed by two different theoretical positions within medical anthropology towards the structural violence position: the culture as central approach and the post-structuralist approach. While medical anthropologists trained in cultural models of illness are disappointed by the lack of culture in the structural violence approach, medical anthropologists trained in post-structuralist models of illness take issue with what they perceive to be its moral and universalist claims. In order to explore these universalist claims, the author returns to the field of moral psychology and its understanding of universal morality by exploring the history of the Heinz dilemma. She then frames her own recent research on global pharmaceutical politics in Argentina and Mexico in the context of the Heinz dilemma, neo-liberal discourses of capitalism, and the theoretical positions available within medical anthropology.

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Anthropology in Action

Journal for Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice

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