Scale in health related research: Situating topographies of healthcare

Author(s): Meredith Reifschneider

Year: 2017


The social production of scale in archaeology has figured prominently in research that aims to develop understandings of local, regional, national, and global processes by tacking between various scalar modalities. Oftentimes, ‘the global’ is posited as the causal and ultimate force, relegating ‘the local’ to the status of a case study. Within social science research more broadly, conceptualizations of scale have increasingly undergone complex formulations in order to address political processes of connectivity. In this paper, I argue for discarding binary, hierarchically organized global/local approaches in lieu of focusing on specific sites of action and social production. This paper addresses the social politics of medicine in the context of enslavement in the former Danish West Indies. Understandings of health and healthcare practices in the Danish colonies were not the local instantiation or reterritorialization of global attitudes, but were sites of intimate relations between bodies, objects, and orders. This research seeks to historicize present baselines of normalcy in health discourse by reframing health as a dynamic and complex process. By refocusing on specific sites of social life, researchers gain theoretical and methodological purchase on how ideas are formed, how actions are produced, and how relations are generated and maintained.

Cite this Record

Scale in health related research: Situating topographies of healthcare. Meredith Reifschneider. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430886)


Health Medicine Scale

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15478