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Julie Pluies

This article, based on my PhD research conducted in a Moroccan psychiatric unit dedicated to children, focuses on the medical settings implemented to acknowledge and treat parents’ and professionals’ concerns regarding children’s health. Institutional, political and clinical responses are discussed. This article also considers the concerns of children and of the researcher which are often disregarded, even though these concerns are omnipresent and co-construct the care settings and how they are studied. An ethnography at hospital and at home offers a more detailed understanding of these forgotten concerns. To conclude, there is a hiatus between the different recorded responses, which testifies to the lack of consideration towards the reciprocal and symmetric attention existing between children and adults. I propose to carefully watch over children’s concerns to support their recovery.

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Irena Selišnik

This article discusses the timing and character of women's philanthropy in Carniola, now part of Slovenia, in the period from 1848 to 1914. Based on primary research, it explores the beginnings of women's work for the poor; the impact of religion, especially Catholicism, on women's involvement in charity; and finally the rise of women's secular social care. I argue that in Carniola, Catholic women's organizations largely filled the space that opened up for women's philanthropic initiatives. By the late nineteenth century, a re-Catholicization of modern industrial society took place, which particularly focused on women, as seen in the phenomenon of the feminization of the Catholic religion. Catholic women's associations started to proliferate; some of these associations were charity associations that introduced new principles to charity work.

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Andrew Dawson

This biographical and, in part, phenomenological anthropology of older people in post-industrial England illuminates a local and generationally specific communitarian critique of and form of resistance against the process of individualisation. Rather than presenting communitarianism conventionally as an abstract political ideology or set of ideas about locality, it is conceptualised as emerging from and being reinforced by experiences of ageing, especially bodily ageing. It these respects, the article responds positively to Tatjana Thelen and Cati Coe’s call to take the anthropology of ageing out of its current condition of relative intellectual marginality, by recognising ageing and its related care arrangements as key structuring features within societies and political organisation and by treating them as a window onto understanding broad-scale social and political processes.

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Bisan Salhi

This article first describes the unique place of emergency medicine (EM) within the American healthcare system. Second, it examines the uncertainty that underlies the practice of emergency medicine. It then describes how risk is perceived, negotiated and minimised by emergency physicians in their day-to-day practice. Finally, it explores how the management of medical risk is related to the establishment of trust within the physician–patient interaction and to the construction of the 'competent physician'. In caring for patients, the emergency physician must minimise risk and instil trust within a pressured, time-sensitive environment. Consequently, the management of risk and display of competence to patients are simultaneously accomplished by symbolic representations, the use of medical diagnostic tools in decision-making, and narrative construction within the clinical interaction.

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Did Policy Change Work?

Oregon Women Continue to Encounter Delays in Medicaid Coverage for Abortion

Bayla Ostrach

Women in poverty experience greater delays in the process of seeking abortion. Timely access to both safe abortion care and early prenatal care reduces morbidity and mortality among pregnant women. This article examines the impacts of a policy change intended to facilitate poor women's applications for pregnancy-related Medicaid (a federally funded, state-administered health coverage programme for the poorest Americans), in Oregon (Western U.S.). The mixed-methods data from this applied anthropology study demonstrate that though health coverage waiting times grew shorter on average, poor women and the clinic staff who cared for them continued to perceive delays in obtaining Medicaid coverage for abortion. Implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the U.S.A. (aka Obama-care) is now thought to be contributing to a return to greater delays in accessing prenatal care and abortion. More research and advocacy are needed to improve access to reproductive health care through state Medicaid programmes.

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With an Open Mind and Open Heart

Collections Care at the Laboratory of Archaeology

Kate Roth

Archaeological repositories are active spaces that preserve the archaeological record for future research and care for the cultural and ancestral heritage of Indigenous communities. Repositories therefore have the potential to be sites of continued collaborative engagement between scholars and communities. The Laboratory of Archaeology (LOA) at the University of British Columbia is a repository that now works with communities to respectfully care for their cultural material, while still remaining committed to research and education. Drawing on interviews with LOA members and my own experience working at the lab, I explore the ways LOA’s practices and policies work to mitigate power asymmetry and facilitate sharing knowledge between communities and scholars.

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Beyond Frames

The Creation of a Dance Company in Health Care through the Journey of Brain Trauma

Jenny Elliott

This article is about my very personal pursuit of drawing down meaning and subsequently evaluating the impact of my professional contemporary dance practice within a specific trauma recovery health-care environment. By tracing a series of short dance journeys, through a hospital ward, artist retreat, hospital dance studio, and local theatre, the intimate story of my role as a PhD researcher, choreographer, and dance facilitator within a neuro-behavioral rehabilitation unit located within a psychiatric site in Belfast unfolds. Lying within the creases of these journeys are the developments of a practice performance-based methodology that coaxes a group of seven men with enduring brain injury who are residents in the neuro-behavioral rehabilitation unit and three staff who care for them to participate together in a four-week Laban-based dance training programme and performance. One of the intentions of the program is to develop a dance company for a PhD study. The article reflects on the embodied experiences of my dance practice and their impact on the generation of appropriate dance-based methodology, analysis frameworks that were subsequently used to investigate this participatory model of arts engagement within health care. The article is back-dropped against my fifteen-year dance residency in health care and the current surge in provision of arts in health-care programs.

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Jessica Prioletta

In this article, I explore how the beliefs of preschool teachers that equality is the norm in their classrooms shape play periods in ways that may work to disadvantage girls. I argue that equality discourses mask the gender power children must negotiate in their play and that this leaves girls with fewer choices when they are accessing the play environment. With research grounded in fieldwork carried out in four public schools in a Canadian metropolis, I illustrate how liberal notions of equality reinforced the traditional gender binary in children’s play. Moreover, drawing on the work of Jane Roland Martin, I show that liberal understandings of equality work to sustain a male-centered education for all students in preschool. To explore ways to attend to such gender inequalities, I turn to Nel Noddings’s concept of an ethics of care and point to the need to challenge the gender binary in early learning.

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Modernisation and Social Change

The Impact on Iranian Elderly Social Networks and Care Systems

Mary Elaine Hegland, Zahra Sarraf and Mohammad Shahbazi

Anthropological field research in Iran, mainly in the village of Aliabad and in nearby Shiraz in south-west Iran, has documented radical social, cultural, religious and economic change over the last 28 years. Increasing emphasis on the nuclear rather than the extended family and pressures for geographic and social mobility have profoundly influenced the lives of the elderly. The traditional family system of support for elders - with regard to emotional and social needs, as well as financial assistance and physical care - is breaking down. Social scientists, social workers and health personnel must focus on adequately addressing the needs and concerns of the Iranian elderly in the twenty-first century and on developing alternative systems to deal with key elderly issues of health, well-being and social incorporation.

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Capacity as Aggregation

Promises, Water and a Form of Collective Care in Northeast Brazil

Andrea Ballestero

As the twenty-first century gets underway, people have been experimenting with many forms of political organization. In Northeast Brazil, that experimental spirit led to the creation of the Water Pact, a process involving more than eight thousand participants through a series of public promise-making rituals in which they made pledges to care for water, attending to the specificities of their own context. The Pact gathered those promises into a multi-scalar formation that, the organizers believed, would yield the necessary resources to address the state’s water problems. The Pact would break with an unsuccessful history of infrastructural and legal reforms concerning deep-water access in the state of Ceará. This article examines how that collective was produced, what its constituent units were and how the logic of aggregation guided practices leading to its coalescence. My purpose is to re-examine the aggregate as a quantitative form of capacity that should be qualitatively reconsidered.