ANTH Seminar Series | An Offer that cannot be refused: Tuberculosis and the medicalisation of poverty

28 April, 2016
3:00pm - 5:00pm

Dr Paul Mason from Woolcock Institute will join the Department of Anthropology in this seminar. He will be presenting on the topic of 'An Offer that cannot be refused: Tuberculosis and the medicalisation of poverty'.



A monocausal bacteriological understanding of infectious disease orients tuberculosis control efforts towards antimicrobial interventions. Multifactorial approaches integrating socio-economic disease prevention strategies are largely neglected. Poverty, overcrowding, malnutrition and co-morbidity intensify disease transmission. Poverty restricts access to the social exchanges incorporating individuals. Tuberculosis magnifies this restricted access. Social stigma is one barrier. The structure of medical treatment is another. Global expansion of free tuberculosis healthcare invites those infected with tuberculosis to assume medicalised identities: an invitation not to be refused . In accepting this invitation, tuberculosis patients, over a lengthy course of treatment, are offered free medication but still need to meet ancillary and not unsubstantial costs. In inculcating and being inculcated by the global medical enterprise, patients are pulled into adopting and reinforcing a reductionist understanding of disease and a consumerist model of treatment. Free treatment loads individuals with the obligations of the patient but denies the rights of the consumer.


Location: Room 148 RC Mills building, A26