When People Come First critically assesses the expanding field of global health. It brings together an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars to address the medical, social, political, and economic dimensions of the global health enterprise through vivid case studies and bold conceptual work. The book demonstrates the crucial role of ethnography as an empirical lantern in global health, arguing for a more comprehensive, people-centered approach.
Topics include the limits of technological quick fixes in disease control, the moral economy of global health science, the unexpected effects of massive treatment rollouts in resource-poor contexts, and how right-to-health activism coalesces with the increased influence of the pharmaceutical industry on health care. The contributors explore the altered landscapes left behind after programs scale up, break down, or move on. We learn that disease is really never just one thing, technology delivery does not equate with care, and biology and technology interact in ways we cannot always predict. The most effective solutions may well be found in people themselves, who consistently exceed the projections of experts and the medical-scientific, political, and humanitarian frameworks in which they are cast.
When People Come First sets a new research agenda in global health and social theory and challenges us to rethink the relationships between care, rights, health, and economic futures.
João Biehl is the Susan Dod Brown Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University. He is the author of Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment and Will to Live: AIDS Therapies and the Politics of Survival (Princeton). Adriana Petryna is the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Life Exposed: Biological Citizens after Chernobyl and When Experiments Travel: Clinical Trials and the Global Search for Human Subjects (both Princeton).
"Rapid social change is the one constant in this ambitious volume. These pages come to life and are wrenching because they never seek to elide the messiness of experience. With ethnographic evidence from some of the most important theaters of global health, the authors give us a sound understanding of the collision of a crushing burden of disease, emerging audit cultures, and new therapeutic regimes. As case studies rooted in long familiarity but alive to overwhelming transformation, they will stand the test of time."--Paul Farmer, Harvard Medical School and Partners in Health
"Award-winning medical anthropologists João Biehl and Adriana Petryna have produced a stunning and original collection. In an era of market-driven global health interventions, this volume demonstrates anthropology's unique contribution as a critically evaluative and humanizing discipline."--Marcia C. Inhorn, Yale University
"Global health as a field is being redefined, from one based on narrow interventions to a more holistic focus on delivering value to patients. This requires a deep understanding of how to connect care delivery to patients, their families, and the local country context. When People Come First is an indispensable resource in creating the global health delivery systems of the future. Its rich case studies are essential for practitioners and scholars in designing and implementing care processes that really work."--Michael E. Porter, Harvard Business School
"Global health is a big business: the World Bank, the World Health Organization, the United Nations, the Gates Foundation, academia, pharmaceutical companies, and thousands of NGOs are working to improve health around the world. Lost among these powerful groups, the supposed beneficiaries have little to say. When People Come First tells us why and how to make global health better. It is an eye-opener, especially for those of us locked into our comfortable disciplinary silos."--Angus Deaton, Princeton University
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by João Biehl:
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Adriana Petryna: