- Dr Alice Street
- Senior Lecturer; Chancellors Fellow
- 4.26 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
- +33 (0)131 6515573
- Research Interests
- Anthropology of Melanesia, Biomedical knowledge(s), practices and technologies, hospital ethnography, State building, International development, Bureaucratic Power, nutraceuticals
Guidance and Feedback Hours
- Monday 10am-12pm
My research focuses on the material politics of global health, with a focus on Papua New Guinea and South India.
Research on hospitals in resource-poor contexts explores the ways in which people engage with biomedical technologies in conditions of uncertainty and precariousness. My book, Biomedicine in an Unstable Place: Infrastructure and Personhood in a Papua New Guinean Hospital is published by Duke University Press in October, 2014.
Research on global health governance has examined the ways in which managerial technologies travel to places of state absence or fragility. I am interested in the ways in which managerial knowledge practices have increasingly underpinned global health in recent years and the emergence of management as form of a state-building in an era of securitisation. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in a government health office it has examined issues of bureaucratic materiality and managerial personhood and expertise.
Research on 'Off the Grid' infrastructures examines the relationships that are built into and sustain physical infrastructures for health in locations that are beyond the reach of centrally planned public infrastructures. I examine “humanitarian goods”, such as rapid diagnostic kits or fortified foods, that are developed through public-private partnerships as technical solutions to fragile health systems. In 2013 I was awarded one of the ESRC’s first grants under its new ‘Transforming Social Science’ scheme for a comparative study of infrastructures for living “off the grid”.
I received my PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge in 2008. I held an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship and a Nuffield New Career Development Fellowship at the University of Sussex until I moved to Edinburgh in 2013.
Biomedicine in an Unstable Place
Biomedicine in an Unstable Place: Infrastructure and Personhood in a Papua New Guinean Hospital. Published by Duke University Press. Discount voucher available here.
In the hospital's clinics, biomedical practitioners struggle amid severe resource shortages to make the diseased body visible and knowable to the clinical gaze. That struggle is entangled with attempts by doctors, nurses, and patients to make themselves visible to external others—to kin, clinical experts, global scientists, politicians, and international development workers—as socially recognizable and valuable persons. Here hospital infrastructures emerge as relational technologies that are fundamentally fragile but also offer crucial opportunities for making people visible and knowable in new, unpredictable, and powerful ways.
Selling Nutraceuticals in South India
My new research focuses on the creation of new markets for nutraceuticals amongst the rural poor in South India. It is concerned with the interplay of cultural food practices and scientific evidence making in the development, marketing and distribution of fortified foods and beverages as a solution to malnutrition amongst the poor.
This research forms a part of the Centre for New Economies of Development, which is a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, University of Sussex and Oxford University.
Read more about nutraceuticals in Orissa, India here:
Publicly Available Lectures
For further information please see: http://edinburgh.academia.edu/AliceStreet
Street, Alice (2014). Introduction: Social Theory after Strathern (co-authored with Jacob Copeman). Theory, Culture and Society Special Issue, edited by Jacob Copeman and Alice Street, Vol 31(2/3): 7-38.
Street, Alice (2012) Affective infrastructure: hospital landscapes of hope and failure. Space and Culture, 15 (1). pp. 44-56. ISSN 1206-3312
Street, Alice and Coleman, Simon, eds. (2012) Special Issue: Hospital Heterotopias: ethnographies of biomedical and non-biomedical spaces. Space and Culture, 15 (1). Sage. ISBN 1206-3312
Street, Alice (2011) Artefacts of not-knowing: the medical record, diagnosis and the production of uncertainty in Papua New Guinean Biomedicine. Social Studies of Science, 41 (6). pp. 815-834. ISSN 0306-3127
Pollard, Amy and Street, Alice (2010) Anthropology through development: Putting development theory into practice. Anthropology Matters, 12 (2).
Street, Alice (2010) Belief as Relational Action: Christianity and Cultural Change in Papua New Guinea. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 16 (2). pp. 260-278. ISSN 1359-0987
Cross, Jamie and Street, Alice (2009) Anthropology at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Anthropology Today, 25 (4). pp. 4-9.
Street, Alice (2009) Failed Recipients: Extracting Blood in a Papua New Guinean Hospital. Body and Society, 15 (2). pp. 193-215. ISSN 1357-034X
Topics interested in supervising
I am interested in supervising students working in the areas of Melanesia, biomedicine, hospital ethnography, management knowledge, bureaucracy, anthropology of the state.
If you are interested in being supervised by Alice Street, please see the links below for more information: