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Becoming Healthy, Free and Physically Active

Medical Discourse on Girls in Sweden c. 1880-1930

Anna-Karin Frih

The sick girl was a popular stereotype in Swedish medical discourse around 1900. It was established by medical authorities at the time that a substantial number of Swedish girls suffered from various diseases and ailments. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, at a time when the welfare state was gradually evolving in the Nordic countries, the scientific opinion of girls changed. The new girl was represented as healthy and active. This article examines the medical discourse on girls, and their activity and health in Sweden during circa 1880 to 1930. It reveals patterns of the medicalization of girls as well as categorizations and constructions of girlhood that corresponded with contemporaneous notions of gender. It reveals a recurring, if inconstant, problematization of girls' illness and lack of adequate physical activity. In this article I will show how the discussions about girls around 1900 share several similarities with current ones.

Open access

The Case of Pakistan

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Perceived Well-Being of Displaced Households

Fariya Hashmat, Ahmad Nawaz, Tony Bradley, and Asad Ghalib

varying socioeconomic and financial risks, which are landlessness, joblessness, homelessness, marginalization, food insecurity, increased morbidity and mortality, loss of access to common property and services, and society-caused disarticulation. These

Free access

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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Anthropological Insights about a Tool for Improving Quality of Obstetric Care

The Experience of Case Review Audits in Burkina Faso

Marc-Eric Gruénais, Fatoumata Ouattara, Fabienne Richard, and Vincent De Brouwere

The ratio of maternal morbidity and mortality in developing countries is high. The World Health Organization (WHO) and public health specialists promote case review audits as a means of improving quality of obstetric care. This reflects the need for high reactivity in health personnel's management of obstetric complications. Within an action-research programme in Burkina Faso, a trial of case review audits was implemented in a maternity ward. This was designed to help health personnel better align their practice with clinical standards and to enable more consideration of pregnant women's needs. Social anthropologists were involved in these case review audits in order to collect data about pregnant women's lifestyles and circumstances. They also worked to train health personnel to conduct interviews. Although it is important to take account of women's circumstances within audit sessions, conducting interviews in 'anthropological ways' (at women's homes, with observations) is time consuming and may sometimes be better replaced with interviews in hospital contexts. Anthropologically informed interviews may pinpoint socio-economic situations as key reasons for problems in healthcare, but health personnel are usually powerless to address these. However, anthropology contributes an awareness of the relevance of these issues for broader healthcare planning.

Open access

Simone Carter, Izzy Scott Moncrieff, Pierre Z. Akilimali, Dieudonné Mwamba Kazadi, and Karen A. Grépin

Whilst men and boys account for more COVID-19 cases and deaths, the secondary impacts of the outbreak on women and girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are cross-cutting and far-reaching. School closures put girls at increased risk of adolescent pregnancy, sexual violence and early marriage; more women working in the informal sector have lost jobs and been affected by closures of markets and borders; and frequent restrictions on sexual and reproductive healthcare have impacted access to services for women. Lessons learnt from previous health crises can help to highlight the extent of these issues. However, a lack of sex disaggregated data around COVID-19 morbidity and mortality in the DRC means that it is impossible to fully measure and understand the impact of the outbreak on women and girls or develop and implement appropriate interventions. This article presents a metasynthesis of existing and ongoing analyses to highlight the broader impacts of COVID-19 on women and girls in the country.

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“Small Acts”

The Perspective, Location and Agency of Theory in South African Cultural Studies

Ashraf Jamal

In an interview with David Attwell, recorded in 1993 at the School of Criticism and Theory at Dartmouth College New Hampshire, Homi Bhabha turns his liminal gaze to the fate of South Africa. His position, that of “an outsider … a bystander and consumer of the media” (Attwell 1993: 109), invokes a reading of the state of the nation and its cultural predicament which, nine years hence, remains compelling. What is particularly striking about the conversation, conducted at a geographical remove during a charged historical time when South Africa forges what will prove to be an on-going process of disinterring itself from a legacy of oppression, is Bhabha’s eschewal of a saving telos and his insistence on turning and returning to “the semiosis of the moment of transition” (1993: 104). For Bhabha this moment is not the Gramscian interregnum between two distinct states of governance. Rather, his conception subsumes the notion of two distinct states as well as Antonio Gramsci’s conception of the moment between as the emergent locus for a symptomatic morbidity. Here Bhabha diverges from the perception of those within South Africa for whom the interregnum has served as a prevailing trope, most notably Nadine Gordimer in The Essential Gesture: Writing, Politics and Places (1988: 262) and Michael Chapman in Southern African Literatures (1996: 327-331). Rather, between the renunciation of a past and the proleptic fulfilment of a future, Bhabha proffers a more enabling conception of the moment of transition; one which, having “overcome the given grounds of opposition … opens up a space of translation: a place of hybridity, figuratively speaking, where the construction of a political object that is new, neither the one nor the other, properly alienates our political expectation, and changes, as it must, the very forms of our recognition of the moment of politics” (Bhabha 1994: 25).

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Patrick O'Hare and Anna Szolucha

she describes as a site of ‘subject-making’ and of ‘vital liminality’: an indeterminate zone between the life and death of people and things. While in no way disguising its hardships, risks and even morbidity, she makes clear that abjection is not the

Open access

Editorial Introduction

The Cases of Italy and China

Harry G. J. Nijhuis and Laurent J.G. van der Maesen

quite different. In Italy—and nearly all other countries in the world—the relative morbidity and mortality was high compared to the number in China. At this stage, some hypotheses may be helpful for a first reflection on this difference. The first one

Open access

The Case of the United States

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Social Connectedness and Isolation in Low-Income Communities

Allison A. Parsons, Danielle Maholtz, Jamaica Gilliam, Haleigh Larson, Dan Li, Sophia J. Zhao, Brita Roy, and Carley Riley

societal-based inequities may have contributed to observed race- and ethnicity-based disparities in morbidity and mortality from SARS-CoV-2. In the United States, lower-income and racial and ethnic minority populations have been more likely to be infected

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Katharina Seebaß

morbidity as well as heat mortality ( Robine et al. 2008 ; Semenza et al. 1996 ; Smargiassi et al. 2009 ). Many studies on heat mortality confirm relations between age ( Baccini et al. 2008 ; Bittner 2014 ; D’Ippoliti et al. 2010 ; Klinenberg 2002