Sharon R. Kaufman, PhD
Institute for Health & Aging, Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, and Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine.
I have several lines of inquiry:
identity and subjectivity and how they are produced, contested and negotiated, for example, among the very old, frail and demented, in the context of illness, within health care bureaucracy and the biomedical research enterprise, and for persons who are neither “dead” nor “alive” but are maintained by medical technologies.
the culture and ethical rationality of medicine, including changes in what constitutes value in therapeutics; the ways in which biomedical research, the financing of health care, evidence and standards together are shaping patient, consumer and health professional knowledge about what to want and expect from medicine in an aging society; emerging societal understandings of old age, longevity and health; the relationship of clinical practice to clinical trials; and the changing nature of medical responsibility and the doctor-patient relationship.
the ways in which cultural narratives and rhetoric -- about individualism, dignity and suffering and risk, for example -- can be used to think about the boundaries of the moral and the practical in medicine, and how they operate as “background” assumptions through which individual stories and societal discourses are lived, constructed, and told.
the anthropology of “life itself,” that is, the fact that all kinds of life forms (such as, the gene, the stem cell, the embryo, the fetus, the disabled, the comatose, the demented, the old) are culturally malleable and negotiable, the result of scientific manipulation, market pressures, commodification and political debate, and the ways in which medical, legal, religious and commercial forces are brought to bear on the meaning and value of those life forms.
- Methods, Medical Anthropology
- Dissertation Writing
- American Anthropological Association
- Gerontological Society of America
- Society for Medical Anthropology
- Editorial Board: Medical Anthropology Quarterly
- Kaufman S. (2011). Medicare, ethics and reflexive longevity: Governing time and treatment in an aging society. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 25, 2.
- Kaufman SR. (2010). Making longevity in an aging society: Linking medicare policy and the new ethical field. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 53(3), 407-424. PMID: 20639608
- Kaufman S. (2010). Time, clinic technologies and the making of reflexive longevity: The cultural work of time left in an ageing society. Sociology of Health & Illness, 32(2), 225-237. PMID: 20422745
- Kaufman S. (2010). Regarding the rise in autism: Vaccine safety doubt, conditions of inquiry and the shape of freedom. Ethos, 38(1), 8-32. (Feb 2010 special issue: Culture and Autism)
- Kaufman S. (2006). And a time to die: How American hospitals shape the end of life. University of Chicago Press.