Society for Medical Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Ethnographies of health systems are a theoretically rich and rapidly growing area within anthropology. Social science study of the politics and power relations of global health policymaking (often called health policy and systems research or HPSR) is a similarly rapidly growing area within public health, with a large global conference and growing representation in top-tier journals, but with a few notable exceptions, anthropologists are not a part of these conversations. This paper reviews anthropological work on global health systems, and outlines anthropology’s potential contributions, both methodological and theoretical, to HPSR. It also provides suggestions for raising the visibility and the influence of ethnographic study of health systems.