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Mustafa Abdalla

This article explores a specific kind of student–patient interaction in Egypt. It demonstrates how the increasing need for patients in medical schools and the shift to a neoliberal economy have generated a population of 'bioavailable' professional patients who find meaning in their diseases and sell knowledge about them in medical schools. The encounter with these patients causes tensions and has its high financial costs for the students; yet, some perceive it as a solution to the shortcomings of the medical system. Furthermore, students view professional patients as a cooperative group who possess extensive medical knowledge and relate to their bodies differently compared to 'ordinary' patients. The encounter highlights the inadequacies pertinent to medical education in this system and shows that the rhetoric of patient-centred training, a common model around the world, can lead to inverted power relations and imbalances in the student–patient encounter.

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Coming Together in the So-Called Refugee Crisis

A Collaboration Among Refugee Newcomers, Migrants, Activists and Anthropologists in Berlin

Nasima Selim, Mustafa Abdalla, Lilas Alloulou, Mohamed Alaedden Halli, Seth M. Holmes, Maria Ibiß, Gabi Jaschke and Johanna Gonçalves Martín

In 2015, Germany entered what would later become known as the ‘refugee crisis’. The Willkommenskultur (welcoming culture) trope gained political prominence and met with significant challenges. In this article, we focus on a series of encounters in Berlin, bringing together refugee newcomers, migrants, activists and anthropologists. As we thought and wrote together about shared experiences, we discovered the limitations of the normative assumptions of refugee work. One aim of this article is to destabilise terms such as refugee, refugee work, success and failure with our engagements in the aftermath of the ‘crisis’. Refugee work is not exclusively humanitarian aid directed towards the alleviation of suffering but includes being and doing together. Through productive failures and emergent lessons, the collaboration enhanced our understandings of social categories and the role of anthropology.