Transmigration of Health Practices

Research in this domain is concerned with transformations of conceptions of the self, body, and disease in relation to the mobilities of norms and forms of health care policies, medical technologies, and medical practices, and the transmigration of people giving and seeking medical care. The research addresses how these mobilities reconfigure the relations between civil society and the state and reconstitute state’s role in governing regimes of care.

Involved Professor

Shalini Randeria is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Zurich. Her research interests include legal anthropology and the transformation of the nation state, civil society, processes of globalisation, developmental studies, and post-colonial theory. She has conducted research on population projects and policies and their interplay with gender relations in India, focusing on the circulation of demographic norms and consequent changes in state practices. She has explored their implications for the transformation of fertility, family and gender relationships. She has conducted many years of fieldwork in several regions of India and has extensive experience of working as a consultant to non-governmental organisations in India as well as to German governmental institutions in the field of women’s health. She is currently president of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), and a member of the Senate of the German Research Foundation (DFG) as well as director of the Competence Center for Gender Studies (KGS) and a fellow of the research focus Asia and Europe, both at the University of Zurich. She has supervised many doctoral and MA theses.

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Postdoctoral Researcher

Fouzieyha Towghi is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Zürich and the Swiss Forum for Migration and Population Studies, University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. Her research on the global governance of South Asian women’s reproduction focuses on the global mobility and circulation of research, therapeutics, and medical technologies for female reproductive cancers across institutional and geographic borders, and the effects these processes on South Asian women’s bodies and social relations. In particular, she is examining the social effects of the revised molecular understanding of female reproductive cancers reshaping clinical practice and population level health care in India and the US. In tracing certain processes taking place globally and in India as it relates to governance of reproduction and women's bodies the research aims to address: How international and WHO mandated policies are translated and implemented at various levels in India in a context of increasing privatization of the social/public health sectors and the emerging India-US economic relationship? How are scientific experts and expertise moving across transnational borders? How are state and private national reproductive health programs revised and influenced because of new WHO mandates and international trade agreements? Who are the stakeholders involved? What relationships are being forged and formed between the various stakeholders within India and across state-national/ international borders? In short, she aims to examine certain transnational processes in order to understand how certain knowledge is produced and applied and the implications thereof.

Fouzieyha Towghi is conducting research in the US (University of California, San Francisco), India (New Delhi, Mysore, Bangalore, Mumbai and Ahmadabad) and Switzerland (World Health Organization in Geneva and also the United Nations offices and archives). The postdoctoral research is framed within her broader doctoral research in Pakistan in which she investigated the effects of the evolving agenda for Global Reproductive Health of women and the globalization of reproductive technologies. In addition, it extends her continued interest in exploring the social constructions, translations, and transnational circuits of emergent and revised scientific and medical understandings of women’s bodies and social status, disease etiology and epidemiology, and effective health care for marginalized communities.

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Key Texts

  • Cohen, Lawrence. 2005. “Operability, Bioavailability, and Exception,” in Ong, A. and S. Collier (eds.): Global Assemblages: Technology, Politics, and Ethics as Anthropological Problems. MA: Blackwell.
  • Randeria, Shalini (ed.) 2010 (forthcoming). Border Crossings: Grenzverschiebungen und Grenzüberschreitungen in einer globalisierten Welt, Zurich: vdf Hochschulverlag.
  • Randeria, Shalini. 2007. Staatliche Interventionen, Bevölkerungskontrolle und Gender: Indien und China im Vergleich, in: Klinger, Cornelia et al. (eds.): Achsen der Ungleichheit: Zum Verhältnis von Klasse, Geschlecht und Ethnizität, Frankfurt/New York: Campus Verlag, pp. 235-256.
  • Randeria, Shalini (editor with Jonathan Friedman). 2004. Worlds on the Move: Globalisation, Migration and Cultural Security, Toda Institute Book Series on Global Peace and Policy Research, 6, London: I.B. Tauris
  • Towghi, Fouzieyha. 2012 Cutting in-operable bodies: Particularizing rural sociality to normalize hysterectomies in Balochistan, Pakistan. Medical Anthropology 31(3):229-248.
  • Towghi, Fouzieyha. 2013. “The Biopolitics of Reproductive Technologies Beyond the Clinic:
    • Localizing HPV Vaccines in India.” Medical Anthropology. Special Issue in honour of Margret
    • Lock.
  • Towghi, Fouzieyha. Forthcoming. “Bodies, Markets, and the Experimental.” (Introduction with Kalindi Vora), Submitted August 2011 and Accepted for Special Journal Issue of Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology.
  • Towghi, Fouzieyha. Forthcoming. “Normalizing Off-Label Experiments and the Pharmaceuticalizing Homebirths in Pakistan.” Submitted August 2011 and Accepted for Special Journal Issue of Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology.
  • Towghi, Fouzieyha and Shalini Randeria. 2013. Pharmaceutical mobilities and the market for women’s reproductive health: Moving HPV-vaccines and contraceptives through NGOs and the state in India. In Critical Mobilities, O. Söderström, D. Ruedin, S. Randeria, G. D’Amato, and F. Panese, eds. London: Routledge