© 2018

Ethnographies and Health

Reflections on Empirical and Methodological Entanglements

  • Emma Garnett
  • Joanna Reynolds
  • Sarah Milton

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Joanna Reynolds, Sarah Milton, Emma Garnett
    Pages 1-17
  3. Dikaios Sakellariou, Narelle Warren
    Pages 159-176
  4. Tiago Moreira
    Pages 253-268
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 269-275

About this book


This edited collection explores the multiple ways in which ethnography and health emerge and take form through the research process. There is now a plethora of disciplinary engagements with ethnography around the topic of health, including anthropology, sociology, geography, science and technology studies, and in health care professions such as nursing and occupational therapy. This dynamic and evolving landscape means ethnography and health are entangled in new and different ways, providing a timely opportunity to explore what these entanglements do and affect in the social production of knowledge. Rather than discussing the strengths (and limitations) of ethnography for engaging with health, the book asks: what does ethnography enable, make visible and possible for knowing and doing health in contemporary research settings and beyond?


Medical Ethics Ethnography Research Ethics Research Methods Early Career Researchers Health Practice Interdisicplinarity

Editors and affiliations

  • Emma Garnett
    • 1
  • Joanna Reynolds
    • 2
  • Sarah Milton
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Life Sciences and MedicineKing’s College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Faculty of Public Health and PolicyLondon School of Hygiene & Tropical MedicineLondonUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.Faculty of Life Sciences and MedicineKing’s College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

About the editors

Emma Garnett is a Research Fellow at the School of Population Health & Environmental Sciences at King’s College London, UK. Her ethnographic work has explored the socio-material practices of research in environmental health science and citizen science. She has published on interdisciplinarity, big data and post-humanist approaches to global health.

Joanna Reynolds is an Assistant Professor in Social Science at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield, UK.  She has a background in social anthropology and public health, and her current research interests include health inequalities, the making of public health knowledge through evaluation, and the fringes of ‘health’ and its intersections with other domains of policy and decision making.  

Sarah Milton is a Research Fellow in Medical Anthropology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK. Her interests are in ageing, gender and local practices of public health in the UK. She has published on later life sexualities, and ageing, wellbeing and welfare in the context of austerity.

Bibliographic information


“This book on the theory, methodology and application of ethnography is a timely, important and scholarly contribution to the contemporary turn to the study of real-world experience in healthcare research.” (Trisha Greenhalgh, Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, UK)

“Taking up the idea that ethnography is not simply a method, but an overall research orientation, this exciting collection demonstrates the value of situating things in their local context, and revealing connections across diverse aspects of social life. Whilst this is now an approach adopted by a range of disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, science & technology studies and geography, this volume highlights the value of researching health practices through the interrogation of apparently mundane and routine features. It reveals how seemingly inconsequential details shape ideas about what health is, and how health can be done. As a result, this book compellingly demonstrates how ethnography itself can serve as a highly productive intervention that has the potential to reframe key matters relating to health, illness and lived experience.” (Simon Cohn, Professor of Medical Anthropology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK)

“Many of the pioneers of contemporary ethnography studied settings of health care, and the ethnographic tradition flourishes today. The contributors to this volume all bear testimony to the diversity and significance of ethnographic work. Together they demonstrate the value of close attention to the institutional and interpersonal processes within which health work is embedded.” (Paul Atkinson, Distinguished Research Professor in Sociology, Cardiff University, UK)