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A special session of the Culture, Medicine and Power research group, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine (King’s College London).

“Hospitals are undergoing a crisis. Hospitals need to open up to the rest of the healthcare system. They must put the patient back at the center of the medical model...” Heard from Paris to New Delhi, these remarks are symptomatic of an institution which has experienced profound changes over the years.

The edited book Hospitals in South Asia: Health Policies, Care Practices (éditions de l’EHESS, collection Purushartha, 2019) sheds new light on these issues by bringing together researchers from different disciplines (social anthropology, geography, psychology, sociology). It presents an updated panorama of hospitals in South Asia, drawing on the plurality of practices, norms and care facilities, so specific to this region.

During this special work session of the Culture, Medicine and Power research group, the editors and several contributors will come back on the central themes of the book: the place of hospitals with regards to public health policies, the emergence of new aspirations among patients, the redefinition of their relationship with healthcare professionals, and the development of innovative standards/practices.

About the speakers

Marie Fourcade is the editor of the annual thematic bilingual Purushartha series. Trained in history and anthropology, her research focuses on colonial British India (“criminal castes and tribes,” thugs, dacoits, colonialism), French orientalism in the 19th century, Indian cinema, as well as on the sixties as a particularly significant moment with regard to mutual and/or combined creative influence between the West and South Asia.

Sumeet Jain is Senior Lecturer in Social Work at The University of Edinburgh. His research aims to strengthen community mental health care in the global south. Current research examines contextually grounded mental health “innovations”; development of local approaches to “recovery” in India; the role of community health workers in mental health care in India and Nepal; and the relationships between mental health and social exclusion in India.

Clémence Jullien is a social anthropologist at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). After exploring the socio-political stakes of reproductive health in India on the basis of 18 months of fieldwork in slums and government hospitals (Rajasthan, North India), Clémence’s research now focuses on the recompositions of caste politics in rural Punjab. She is the author of From the slum to the hospital. The new challenges of maternity in Rajasthan (éd. FMSH, 2019).

Bertrand Lefebvre is a research fellow at the Department of Social Sciences (French Institute of Pondicherry). Over the past 15 years, his research has mostly focused on inequalities of access to hospital care and on inequalities of exposure to environmental hazards (dengue, air pollution) in Delhi and Bangkok. Bertrand now explores the governance of air pollution in large African and Asian cities, and universal health insurance in Andhra Pradesh.

Fabien Provost is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine (King’s College London). He is a member of the Wellcome-funded project Grid Oncology: Remaking Cancer Care in India. As a social anthropologist, Fabien is interested in the intersection of medicine and the law. As part of his doctoral research, he conducted 12 months of fieldwork in the morgues of three North-Indian hospitals. He is the author of Les mots de la morgue. La médecine légale en Inde du Nord (Mimésis, 2021).

About the discussants

Shagufta Bhangu is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, King's College London. She is a member of the Wellcome-funded project Grid Oncology: Remaking Cancer Care in India and is a part of the Culture, Medicine and Power (CMP) research group. Shagufta completed her doctoral research on the emergence of pain medicine in India from Shiv Nadar University, Delhi. In 2017-2018, she spent a year in the medical anthropology programme at UCSF and UC Berkeley as a Fulbright scholar.

Sarah Hodges is Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at King’s College, London. In her research and teaching, she asks questions about the politics of health and modern India, such as: ‘What’s at stake in the fake?’ Her current research for this project intervenes in the scholarly conversations of critical global health by exploring widely-held beliefs about the careers of Indian pharmaceuticals in African markets.

Important information about the event

This session is open to members of the CMP research group as well as any interested person. Light lunch will be offered on site from 12:00. Registration for this event is mandatory (via eventbrite).

For those who are unable to travel to London, it is possible to follow this event online. To receive a Zoom link 24 hours before the event, please write an e-mail to:

Hospitals in South Asia: Health Policies, Care Practices

At this event

Shagufta Bhangu

Lecturer in Global Health & Social Medicine (Bioethics & Society)

Event details

Council Room
Strand Building
Strand Campus, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS