Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Anthropology, University of Massachusetts

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2008
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, Harvard University
Transforming Death, Transforming Society: Palliative Caregiving Networks in Thailand

The burgeoning Thai palliative care movement brings to the fore medical, moral, and political issues at stake locally and globally. Currently coalescing in the domain of palliative care in Thailand are hospital accreditation demands, growing dissatisfaction with -the overuse of heroic technologies at the end of life, and an activist "Engaged Buddhist" network that end-of-life as a tool for enhancing individual spirituality and sparking overarching social change. How is it that end-of-life has become a vehicle for political action? What lies behind these coalitions? How does this movement crystallize new sensibilities and/or transform the .experience of caregivers? And how does this remarkable palliative care movement in Thailand both reflect and -contribute to significant changes in subjectivity in Thailand? The proposed project integrates the methods of social and visual anthropology to explore what end-of-life caregiving in different contexts and how formal and informal networks of care for the dying might help us understand emergence and transformation on both individual and societal scales. Forms of Buddhism, social science, and .civil society provide provocative backdrops for this study, with great promise for contemporary Thai studies, as well as the general investigation of subjectivity and social networks in socio-cultural and medical anthropology at large.