Society for Medical Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Social epidemiologists and medical anthropologists are centrally concerned with understanding how social, political, economic, and ecological factors create unequal health risk and differential experience of diseases. However, in the last few decades, the surprisingly limited engagement across these sub-disciplines has produced multiple overlapping theories that use different language to discuss the same phenomena. In this talk, we present a comparative analysis of four prevailing theories from social epidemiology and medical anthropology: local biologies (from Margaret Lock, medical anthropologist), ecosocial theories (from Nancy Kreiger, social epidemiologist), a theory of fundamental causes (from Bruce Link and Jo Phelan, social epidemiologists), and syndemics (from Merrill Singer, medical anthropologist). We then present an original co-citation network analysis to demonstrate interdisciplinary citation (or lack thereof) among these authors. We close by putting these theoretical frameworks in dialogue to convey how they can be mutually beneficial to the advancement of knowledge, pragmatic work, or policy-level impact around wellbeing.