New Special Issue “Im/Mobilities and Dis/Connectivities in Medical Globalization: How Global is Global Health?”

Dominik Mattes, Hansjörg Dilger

The interdisciplinary, politically contested field of Global Health has often been described as a consequence of, and response to, an intensification of the mobilities of, and connectivities between, people, pathogens, ideas, and infrastructure across national borders and large distances. However, such global mobilities and connectivities are not as omnidirectional and unpatterned as the rhetoric of many Global Health actors suggests. Instead, this special issue – which has been co-edited by Dominik Mattes and Hansjörg Dilger and was published in the journal Global Public Health in January 2018 – argues that the dynamics of health-related mobility and connectivity are suffused by a plethora of institutional, national, and global political agendas, and substantially shaped by transnational and postcolonial power relations.

Furthermore, the configurations that are typically subsumed under the category of Global Health represent only a minor part of the range of im/mobilities and dis/connectivities that are essential for understanding transformations of epidemiological patterns, health care infrastructures, and the responses to health-related challenges in a globalizing world. In order to broaden such a limiting analytical perspective, the special issue proposes to expand the analytical focus in studying Global Health phenomena by paying close attention to the myriad ways in which particular im/mobilities and dis/connectivities constitute medicine and wellbeing in global and transnational settings. Pursuing a conceptual shift from studies of ‘Global Health’ to studying ‘medical globalization’ may carve out new analytical ground for such an endeavour.

This special issue assembles contributions that were first presented at two events organized on behalf of the work group medical anthropology of the German Anthropological Association (GAA):

  1. The workshop „The making and unmaking of ‚crises‘ and ‚emergencies‘ in global health“ at the GAA Conference „Krisen. Re-Formationen von Leben, Macht und Welt“ (Philipps Universität Marburg: 9th September – 3rd October 2015); and
  2. The panel „How ‚global‘ is Global Health? Mobility and (dis)connectivity in the Global Health enterprise“ at the joint conference „MAGic2015: Anthropology and Global Health: interrogating theory, policy and practice“, organised by the EASA Medical Anthropology Network and the RAI Medical Anthropology Committee University of Sussex, UK (9-11th September 2015).

The special issue includes the following contributions:

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