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Care on the Verge: Global Health Interventions for Malaria and Biological Citizenship among Undocumented Karen Migrants in the Thai-Burma Borderland.

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Title:Care on the Verge: Global Health Interventions for Malaria and Biological Citizenship among Undocumented Karen Migrants in the Thai-Burma Borderland.
Authors:Nago, Asami
Contributors:Anthropology (department)
global health
The Karen
Date Issued:Aug 2018
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:This dissertation investigates global health interventions for malaria in the borderland, and the ways in which it impacts social relations, identity, and border experiences among the people at international malaria research clinics. The Thai-Burma borderland has become a site of increased malaria control interventions due to the emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) malaria parasites and the existence of highly mobile populations without citizenship. As such, they have shaped the landscape of the borderland as an ambiguous and liminal space for local Karen migrants and international medical doctors. I explore the ways in which people perceive of malaria as a biosocial disease in a clinical setting and create a new identity through experiencing the political economy of the borderland.
Undocumented Karen migrants from Burma cross the international border to seek health care access at the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU), an international malaria research unit in Thailand. They experience malaria as a consequence of political economy of ethnic conflict, poverty, structural violence, and discrimination against them as non-citizens and as undocumented migrants in the borderland. The vulnerability of this population is shaped by their lack of political citizenship by governments. However, medical researchers have neglected the sociocultural, political, and economic aspects of malaria, nor have they considered the social experiences of undocumented Karen migrants.
The SMRU clinics provide care opportunities for undocumented Karen migrants, but also assures cosmopolitan medico-humanitarianism opportunities for international doctors as well as local Karen health practitioners. More importantly, access to healthcare at these facilities provides biological citizenship to undocumented Karen migrants. The SMRU clinics generate statistical evidence and scientific knowledge of malaria suffering. Despite this, the knowledge produced does not represent patients’ individual experiences of suffering with malaria and social inequalities. Thus, I argue that the inequalities and violence that people experience in their everyday life in the borderland are tactically ignored by the global health paradigm of malaria.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2018.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Anthropology

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