South Asia

Organized Panel Session

5 - Politics of Healthcare and the Imperatives for Social Change in India

Friday, July 6
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Marigold, New Building

This paper attempts to comprehend the politics of healthcare and use this understanding for positive social change in India. We draw from the work of scholars and scholarly traditions from around the globe but we moor our discussion with indigenous thinkers, processes, and practices. Our rigorous literature survey suggests that exclusionary practices are adopted for women, children, tribes, youth, lower caste, and class as well as all others at the margin social circle. The operation of power becomes pivotal in how exclusion operates for the availability, accessibility, and utility of social resources including healthcare. We analyze the operation of power on the politics of healthcare using intersectional perspectives. Data is collected through discourse analysis of seminal and concurrent research as well as an ethnographic study of a select context in India. Our field study is based in three districts of Bihar with concurrent interest on maternal and child health. While traditional practices are relegated, modern practices have yet to be adopted in places like rural Bihar. The hold of caste is still paramount. These social vectors further complicate access to healthcare resources obfuscating positive social change. The identity of the nation, then, is revealed in not creating policies, processes, and other means for the upliftment of people at the margins. We hope that this study will help in locating the ways of dismantling widespread inequalities in healthcare sector through contextual as well as critical approaches which will further help in comprehending the standpoints and epistemologies of the socially excluded in India.

Aditya Raj

Indian Institute of Technology Patna, India

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