Welcome to Medical Anthropology at UCL

Welcome to Medical Anthropology at University College London. Medical Anthropology examines how health and well-being are socially and culturally constituted in comparative and transnational contexts and the ways in which culture influences the experience of illness, the practice of medicine and the process of healing for the individual and community. It explores how the experiences and perceptions of the body, self or notion of the individual or person influence the illness experience. It is also concerned with how cultural values and practices dynamically shape and are themselves shaped by biomedical research and practice and non-Western medicines and healing traditions. This blog presents current and emerging research within Medical Anthropology at UCL and abroad, and it offers a forum for exchange and discussion within social science and medical communities.

The Material Culture of Failure

What happens when objects behave unexpectedly or fail to do what they ‘should’? Even when materials, and the institutions in which they are embedded, perform mechanically in the way in which they were designed, they may fail to ‘socially’ do what is expected of them. Who defines failure? Is failure always bad? Rather than viewing concepts such as failure, incoherence or incompetence as antithetical to social life, this innovative new book examines the unexpected and surprising ways in which failure, for better or for worse, can lead to productive and creative results.