Placing Care: Embodying Architecture in Outpatient Hospital Care for Immigrant and Refugee Patients

Susan E. Bell, Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Bowdoin College, and Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Fellow, SAR

Colloquium, SAR Boardroom

Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

Susan E. BellSusan E. BellPhotograph by Jason S. Ordaz Susan E. BellPhotograph by Jason S. Ordaz 

Hospitals are places where people, objects, and ideas meet and interact. In their physicality, hospitals install routines in bodies by insisting on particular paths that people move along daily. Waiting rooms, exam rooms, and corridors create embodied routines that become natural and invisible. “Placing Care” draws on nine months of fieldwork to explore the impact of physical space, routines, regulations, and technologies on encounters between adult immigrant/refugee patients and caregivers in two outpatient clinics in one hospital in Maine. This presentation identifies assumptions about patients, practitioners, and forms of healing embedded in the clinics; how the clinics’ physicality establishes biomedical routines and ways of knowing in clinic staff, patients, and interpreters; and how staff, patients, and interpreters continually redefine, re-evaluate, and reconstruct these places and routines.

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