CfP Doing healthcare ethnography in post-socialist settings: Methodological reflections

Marius Wamsiedel's picture

This is a call for papers for a tentative panel on ethnographic research in post-socialist healthcare settings to be held at the 2018 conference of the Society for Romanian Studies (Bucharest, June 26-30).

Convener: Marius Wamsiedel (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University)

Hospitals, ambulatory care centers, physicians’ offices and hospices are notoriously difficult to study ethnographically. Gaining and maintaining access to the field, establishing rapport with health care workers, negotiating roles and expectations are fraught with difficulties and complications. While numerous studies have been dedicated to the methodological adaptations needed to overcome institutional and cultural challenges in health care settings throughout the world, few of them reflect on fieldwork experiences in former socialist countries. The aim of this panel is to explore the peculiarities of post-socialist healthcare settings, and the challenges and opportunities they present for ethnographic research.

Contributions are invited that address theoretical and practical issues including but not limited to the following:  Is the ‘post-socialist’ analytical category still relevant for making sense of the work of health care organizations in Central and Eastern Europe, former Soviet Union, and South-East Asia? What are the structural and cultural factors that affect researchers’ access to health care settings? How do informal practices taking place in health care organizations impact ethnographic data-gathering? How is positionality accomplished during fieldwork? What strategies for establishing and maintaining rapport with the participants work best in contexts of generalized distrust, suspicion, and public secrecy?

Please send an abstract of 250-300 words and a short CV by email to Marius Wamsiedel ( by Friday, September 22, 2017. The language of the panel is English.

Categories: CFP