24 Jun 2011 - 25 Jun 2011 All day CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge



Dr Peggy Watson  (Sociology, University of Cambridge)

Conference Summary

The health care changes originally proposed by Barack Obama were hailed as potentially the most significant advance in US social legislation since the New Deal. At the same time, the level of contention which the proposals provoked took many by surprise. At a fundamental level, it was noted, the disagreements involved competing views regarding the kind of country the US should be. Health care now promises to be on the political agenda for some time to come. However, the US is not the only country where controversial health reforms are being faced. The postsocialist countries have also seen dramatic and frequently problematic health care change – in Europe, the streets of Vilnius, Riga and Sophia saw violent protests early last year following social spending cuts. China's health care has also been radically redefined as the country pursues a place among the rich nations of the world. The present conference initiative brings the US, China and postcommunist Europe together within a single study frame. The aim is to gain insight into the quite different processes of change that are involved when countries with these radically different starting points move towards a globally shared health care framework. The conference has been constructed with a view to bringing together detailed ethnographic description, theoretical analysis, as well as issues of economic power and institutional design. It will explore the degree to which concepts developed within one research setting might have analytical purchase elsewhere. It will confront the interpretations and experiences of patients, professionals, and politicians of health care transformation in practice, and ask what the implications of the changes are for varying forms/ understandings of citizenship in a post-Cold War world.
This academic meeting on the globalisation of health care will facilitate new intellectual exchange on hitherto rather distinct areas of research. It will bring together speakers with diverse backgrounds, including anthropology, area studies, sociology, geography as well as public health. Abstracts and papers will be pre-circulated among speakers as a way of sparking conversations which will continue throughout the event.





The convener is grateful for the support of The Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), the British Academy and the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness.

Accommodation for non-paper giving participants

Conference participants can find information about accommodation in Cambridge at the following URLs:
NB. CRASSH is not able to help with the booking of accommodation.


Administrative assistance: Helga Brandt (Conference Programme Manager, CRASSH)


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk