17 Feb 2020 12:30pm - 2:00pm CRASSH Meeting Room, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT


“The work in progress seminars offered an excellent forum for eliciting feedback on one’s work from a cross-disciplinary audience” (Dr Christopher Meckstroth, Early Career Fellow 2018-19)


Part of the CRASSH Fellows Work in Progress Seminar Series. All welcome but please email Michelle Maciejewska to book your place and to request readings. A sandwich lunch and refreshments are provided.

Dr Ariane Hanemaayer

The state of the opioid crisis in North America has spurred a great deal of discussion around matters of medical regulation, pharmaceutical conflicts of interest, and health promotion in the United Kingdom. From within medicine, physicians and researchers have problematized opioid use and abuse in various discourses, including neurological science, genetics, public health, and clinical care. In this works in progress seminar, I discuss what makes pain management a challenging case for the medical model and evidence-based practice. I'm particularly interested in theorizing the relations of discourse that open up an impossible gap between individual experience and population health.


I am currently undertaking a multi-phase research project that investigates the various relationships between medical epistemology, healthcare systems and spaces, and medical governance and regulation. The overall goal of the project is to use a medical humanities perspective that draws on critical sociology and historical, genealogical analysis to explain the relations of domination that cause failures within healthcare at various intersections among knowledge systems, professions, governance, and science. During my tenure at CRASSH I plan to investigate the history, science, and policy associated with the current opioid crisis in medicine.

According to the United Kingdom’s Department of Health, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Centre for Disease Control in the United States, opioid deaths have been on the rise significantly in the last few years. Recently all three nations have taken different strategies for managing the problem.  The effects of these strategies, their successes and failures, and how and why they have been chosen, requires analysis to understand the how policy, pain medicine, and regulation impact the current crisis. In order to explain the differences between regulatory strategies across, a Foucauldian genealogical analysis will be conducted about medical regulation and public health in these three countries. In this exploratory project, I will then compare the scientific and regulatory histories in the three countries to examine the relationship between science and policy regarding medically prescribed opioids. I will analyze the social and discursive forces that influence the management of pain medicine by collecting published policy statements in all three nations, and additionally, archival information about the UK and Canada. The goal is to understand why medical systems deal with the crisis differently, and explain how each country’s history and regulatory policies shape those programs for intervention, both their effectiveness and failures. The outcomes of this research will provide information on the historical and institutional causes of the crisis to policy makers and analysts, and inform future research plans to conduct archival analysis in the USA. 

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