6th workshop

6th Ethnographies of Science & Technology Workshop

At the Crossroads of Medical and Cultural Anthropology

– Culture, Medicine, Comparison –


Date and Time: August 29, 2012, 15:00~18:00
Venue: G-sec Lab, 6F, East Building, Mita Campus, Keio University
Access: http://www.keio.ac.jp/access.html

Open to public. Admission Free. No registration is required.
This event will be held in English; summary in Japanese is provided after each talk.
For further details contact: Gergely Mohacsi (mohacska@z3.keio.jp)


15:00 Introductory Remarks

     Gergely Mohacsi (CARLS, Keio University)

15:15 Beyond the Horizon: An Inquiry into the Outermost Reaches of the

     Anthropological Gaze and the Comparative Method

     Allan Young (McGill University)

16:15 (Coffee Break)

16:30 Roundtable Discussion

 Coordinator: Gergely Mohácsi (Keio University)


Allan Young (McGill University)
Pino Schirippa (University of Rome)
Kitanaka Junko (Keio University)
Yamazaki Goro (Osaka University)
Hamada Akinori (JSPS)

17:30 General Discussion
Coordinator: Miyasaka Keizo (Keio University)


The suggested motion for the roundtable discussion is:

Medical anthropology illuminates the recursive relationship between the anthropological tool of comparison and human differences.

Physicians and other medical professionals—not to mention patients—are only very rarely interested in the debates of medical anthropologists. One reason for this is that medical anthropology will never be able to cure people; one field, however, where medical anthropologists can contribute is (cultural) anthropology. Comparison is one issue/method where such a contribution is possible. It used to be the ultimate method in anthropology, but for a long time it is rather a target of criticism than anything else. Medical anthropologists, however, can provide many examples of how people—patients, physicians, epidemiologists, brain scientists, etc.—actually do comparisons all the time. We should rethink comparison as both a method and a daily practice (in medicine, and else) that links ethnography and anthropology. Whatever we think about its correctness or validity, comparison is one way people do their cultures, their religions, their sciences, their ethnicities, their gender, etc. It is therefore a very good example how anthropologists do exactly what their informants do—but it is very rarely admitted (despite the many other examples for such a recursive relationship in anthropology. The argument here is that admitting this relationship between the method and subject of ethnography may lead to new innovations in anthropological theory and practice, and that medical anthropology has a pivotal role there.