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Catalog Archive / Spring 2020

Eliciting Care
Health and Power in Northern Thailand

New Perspectives in Southeast Asian Studies
Alfred W. McCoy, Ian G. Baird, Katherine A. Bowie, and Anne Ruth Hansen, Series Editors

“An extraordinarily nuanced and sensitive anthropological treatment of the experience of the vulnerable and those who care for them in a universal health care system that has been widely regarded as a model for the industrializing world.”
—Joseph Harris, Boston University

In 2001, Thailand introduced universal health care reforms that have become some of the most celebrated in the world, providing almost its entire population with health protection coverage. However, this remarkable implentation of health policy is not without its weaknesses. Drawing on two years of fieldwork at a district hospital in northern Thailand, Bo Kyeong Seo examines how people in marginal and dependent social positions negotiate the process of obtaining care.

Using the broader concept of elicitation, Seo analyzes the social encounters and forces that shape caregiving. These dynamics challenge dichotomies of subjugation and resistance, consent and coercion, and dependence and autonomy. The intimate and moving stories from patients and providers at the core of Eliciting Care draw attention to a broader, critically important phenomenon at the human level. Seo's poignant ethnography engages with feminist theory on the ethics of care, and in so doing makes a significant contribution to emerging work in the field of health policy and politics.


Bo Kyeong Seo. Bo Kyeong Seo is an assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.




“Based on impressive ethnographic research that considers the perspectives of both patients and health care providers, this book provides a compelling account of how the country's ambitious universal health care program is actually working out on the ground.”
—Nancy Eberhardt, Knox College



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June 2020
LC: 2019041272 GN
210 pp. 6 x 9
8 b/w illus., 2 maps, 3 tables

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Cloth $74.95 S
ISBN 9780299326906
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