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ISBN: 978 984 506 503 0

Cover Type: N/A

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Broken Limbs, Broken Lives: Ethnography of a Hospital Ward in Bangladesh

By Shahaduz Zaman (Author)

Publisher(s): The University Press Limited (UPL)   

First Published: Netherlands-2005 (Paperback); UPL-June 2017 (e-Book) No. of Pages: 211 Weight (kg): 0


UPL Showroom Price: 799.2 BDT

Price: $9.99

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This Study represents a trend in anthropology to shift its attention to places of modern technology and bureaucracy. Shahaduz Zaman carried out anthropology fieldwork in an orthopaedic ward in a large government teaching hospital of Bangladesh. The study shows that in contrast to the assumed universalism in biomedicine, biomedical practice is in fact a product of particular social conditions. The Hospital reflects the features of its society.

Behind the injuries and broken limbs in the ward are stories of violence, crime, and intolerance, occurring in a society where masses of people fight over limited resources. In the ward people interact in an extremely hierarchical manner. The patients, who are mainly from poor economic backgrounds, remain at the bottom of the hierarchy. Doctors and other staff members are often professionally frustrated. Strikes related to various professional demands made by hospital staff members, hamper the regular flow of work in the ward. Family members are engaged in nursing and provide various kinds of support to their hospitalised relatives. Patients give small bribes to the ward boys and cleaners to obtain their day-to-day necessities. Patients joke with each other and mock senior doctors. Thus neutralise their powerlessness and drive away the monotony of their stay.

This shocking and humorous study shows how medical practice takes shape in an under-staffed, under-resourced and under-financed hospital of a low-income country, characterised by daily physical and structural violence.


Acknowledgements / 1. Setting the Scene / 2. Ethnography / 3. Bangladesh / 4. Research Setting: The Hospital / 5. Patients: Lost in the Labyrinth / 6. Relatives: Silent Saviours / 7. Ward Boys, Cleaners and Gatekeepers: Influential Inferiors / 8. Nurses - Ladies without Lamps / 9. Doctors: Pride and Prejudice / 10. The Hospital: Mirror of Society / 11. Broken Limbs, Broken Lives / Epilogue /  Glossary of Local Terms / List of Abbreviations / Annex / References


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This book features in: Academic and Reference Books Medical Science and Public Health

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