Life in Crisis: The Ethical Journey of Doctors Without Borders (Hardcover)

Life in Crisis: The Ethical Journey of Doctors Without Borders By Peter Redfield Cover Image
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Life in Crisis tells the story of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders or MSF) and its effort to “save lives” on a global scale. Begun in 1971 as a French alternative to the Red Cross, the MSF has grown into an international institution with a reputation for outspoken protest as well as technical efficiency. It has also expanded beyond emergency response, providing for a wider range of endeavors, including AIDS care. Yet its seemingly simple ethical goal proves deeply complex in practice. MSF continually faces the problem of defining its own limits. Its minimalist form of care recalls the promise of state welfare, but without political resolution or a sense of well-being beyond health and survival. Lacking utopian certainty, the group struggles when the moral clarity of crisis fades. Nevertheless, it continues to take action and innovate. Its organizational history illustrates both the logic and the tensions of casting humanitarian medicine into a leading role in international affairs.

About the Author

Peter Redfield is Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina. He is the author of Space in the Tropics: From Convicts to Rockets in French Guiana.

Praise For…

"An intriguing read that will be useful for students as well as health care practitioners. . . . Recommended."

"A coherent, evocative, critical and balanced piece of scholarship."
— Global Public Health

"Anyone who believes that providing medical aid to the poorest people in poor and conflict-ridden countries provides moral clarity should read this book and be disabused."
— Health Affairs

"For scholars in the field [Life in Crisis] is invaluable."
— Centre for Medical Humanities

"An important ethnography, a retrospective on MSF, and a map to future research."
— Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry

"A must-read . . . Historically and analytically rich."
— Current Anthropology
Product Details
ISBN: 9780520274846
ISBN-10: 0520274849
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: February 25th, 2013
Pages: 338
Language: English