Ordinary Medicine: governance, ethics and the subject in the biomedical economy

Sharon Kaufman
Date and Time: 
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - 5:30pm

Department of Anthropology
Main Quad - Building 50
Room 51A (Colloquium Room)


My ethnographic journeys in clinical spaces have led me to look farther "upstream" at the elements of the vast biomedical economy that drive the medical-industrial enterprise. Driving so much of that economy today is the value and power given to the "rationality" of evidence based medicine, a rationality, I want to emphasize, is based on prior culturally diffuse ethical commitments and political choices.


Sharon Kaufman, Chair, Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine, UCSF. Kaufman is a medical anthropologist with research interests in the changing culture and structure of U.S. medicine; end-of-life; aging; subjectivity; the relationship of biotechnologies to ethics, governance and medical practice; the shifting terrain of evidence in clinical science; practices of risk assessment; and the anthropology of forms of life. One of her best known books is And a Time to Die: How American Hospitals Shape the End of Life. She is one of the few sociocultural anthropologists to have been continuously federally funded for over to decades.