: Neely (A.)

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169pp., illus., maps, paperback, Durham, 2021

Abigail Neely on the possibilities and limitations of social medicine at the Pholela Community Health Centre in KwaZulu-Natal.

“Compelling and original, Reimagining Social Medicine from the South rethinks core concepts in historical and anthropological discussions of health and healing in Africa through the lenses of political ecology and relational ontologies. Drawing on rich ethnographic and archival examples, Abigail H. Neely illuminates how robust conceptions of the ‘social’ at the heart of a pioneering social medicine project in rural South Africa nonetheless struggled to incorporate more-than-human understandings of life and well-being. The book's insistence that health and illness are entanglements that exceed the confines of the individual body and academic renderings of the ‘social’ alike is a call for place-based models for improving health that challenge global health's narrow frames of measurability and efficacy.” Cal Biruk, author of Cooking Data: Culture and politics in an African research world

“It is not easy to develop an analysis that incorporates both racial capitalism and witchcraft, but through her deeply respectful ethnographic examination of the work of a groundbreaking and highly influential health clinic in South Africa, Abigail H. Neely manages to do just that. Her penultimate chapter is a phenomenal rendition of the multiple ontologies of health.” Julie Guthman, author of Wilted: Pathogens, chemicals and the fragile ufture of the strawberry industry

Abigail H. Neely is Assistant Professor of Geography at Dartmouth College, Hanover, USA.