Association of Medical Anthropologists in Russia – an Urgent Need?

© 2013 D.V. Mikhel, R.M. Khayrullin, E.I. Kirilenko, V.I. Kurashov


Key words: medical anthropology, interdisciplinary studies, Association of medical anthropologists (AMA), institutionalization, medicalization, humanitarization of education, methodology of interdisciplinarity, conferences, scientific publications, health care, national health.

Abstract: This publication presents results of a short survey conducted at the First international scientific symposium ‘Medical Anthropology in Russian and abroad’ (3-5 July 2013). The survey consisted of three questions which were suggested for discussion to Prof. Dmitry Mikhel (Doctor of Science, Philosophy), Prof. Radik Khayrullin (Doctor of Science, Medicine), Prof. Elena Kirilenko (Doctor of Science, Philosophy) and Prof. Vladimir Kurashov. Each of them expressed their opinion on such topics as how important it is to create an Association of medical anthropologists in Moscow/ Russia; how they see a ‘profile’ of a medical anthropologist in our country; what kind of education and background current medical anthropologists have and what their desired characteristics will be in the future; what the most urgent tasks of the Association are.


Dmitry Mikhel underlined that the Association was created just on time, as it has had all the formal pre-conditions. Association is an important instrument of articulation and defense of interests of individual researchers who feel urge to find link-minded people. It unites people with similar interests, regardless of institutions they belong to. They might have different opinions on some issues, but these issues they think together about these issues. Taking into account today’s academic mobility and intensive academic migrations, Association promotes and structures these mobilities. The career of medical anthropologists often grows on the margins of medicine and social sciences. Tomorrow medical anthropologist should be brave and open-minded, ready to get rid of past biases. To put it in Van Potter words’, we should build a bridge between different scientific worlds.

Radik Khayrullin highlighted that on the background of rising mortality in Russia the creation of Association is extremely important. Medical anthropologists should give up-to-date comments on situation in today’s and future Russia. They, like their colleagues in the USA, should analyze the role of insurance medicine, and demonstrate accessibility of different types of medical services to Russian citizens.

Elena Kirilenko put forward several reasons for creation of Association of Medical Anthropologists in Russia. First, she stressed the growing number of medical-anthropological studies in Russia and other countries. Second, she talked about medicalization as a dominant trope to describe modernity, together with globalization, multiculturalism, post-culture, etc. Third, the methodology of interdisciplinarity has become prominent in today’s humanitarian knowledge.

The article is available in full version in Russian.

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