A Heart for the Work: Journeys through an African Medical by Claire L. Wendland

By Claire L. Wendland

Burnout is usual between medical professionals within the West, so one may well imagine clinical profession in Malawi, one of many poorest nations on this planet, might position a ways larger pressure at the idealism that drives many medical professionals. yet, as A middle for the Work makes transparent, Malawian clinical scholars discover ways to confront poverty creatively, experiencing fatigue and frustration but in addition pleasure and dedication on their technique to turning into physicians. the 1st ethnography of scientific education within the worldwide South, Claire L. Wendland’s publication is a relocating and perceptive examine drugs in an international the place the transnational move of individuals and concepts creates either devastation and possibility.

Wendland, a doctor anthropologist, performed large interviews and labored in wards, clinics, and working theaters along the scholar medical professionals whose tales she relates. From the relative calm of Malawi’s collage of drugs to the turbulence of educating at hospitals with gravely unwell sufferers and dramatically insufficient offers, employees, and know-how, Wendland’s paintings unearths the way in which those younger medical professionals interact the contradictions in their situations, laying off new gentle on debates concerning the results of scientific education, the influence of conventional therapeutic, and the needs of medicine.

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Extra info for A Heart for the Work: Journeys through an African Medical School

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Among a limited range of historical possibilities” (Mattingly 1998:128). Or, as Clifford Geertz put it, “We assemble the selves we live in out of materials lying about in the society around us . . 40 Narratives are subjective constructions, then, and they are also social. Social processes determine what stories can be told, what stories must be told, what stories cannot be told. Those who narrate select from a vast store of events and memories, putting the selections into temporal and causal orders: this happened and then that happened; this happened because that happened.

In each case, specific remedies apply. This focus on the repair of social ills does not mean, however, that African healing must be seen as an essentially homeostatic mechanism, restoring the status quo by punishing transgressions of accepted norms. Healing practices can also be seen as forms of resistance to modernity or ways to push for change by shifting existing balances of power. 4 Witchcraft is usually rooted in envy, and those at either end of the economic spectrum are therefore particularly vulnerable to witchcraft accusations.

In these tales of training, the narrator himself typically escapes (albeit narrowly) the dehumanized fate to which his classmates succumb, but the normative arc remains—and is in fact reinforced by the example of the introduction 19 exception that proves the rule. Medical students eagerly consume and reproduce such tales, seeing reflected in them the doctors they wish, or fear, to become. Research on medical training has mapped an extraordinarily consistent moral trajectory among students since the foundational studies conducted in the 1950s, through the neo-Marxist and feminist analyses of the 1980s, to the Foucault-influenced works of more recent scholarship.

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