Mirko Pasquini

Affiliated Postdoctoral position at Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Cultural Anthropology; Affiliated

Visiting address:
Thunbergsvägen 3 H
Postal address:
Box 631
751 26 Uppsala

Short presentation

I am a Medical Anthropologist trained in Conversation Analysis and Visual Methods.

I study medical procedures in action, sticking closely to their practical and ethical dimensions.

My current research focuses on “Mistrust in practice” in healthcare interactions in the aftermath of COVID-19 in Europe.

I address issues of hospital overcrowding, triage and violence against the healthcare staff by looking at negotiations of needs, vulnerability and legitimacy amidst actors participating to care.

Keywords: body medical anthropology vulnerability global health emergency care medical knowledge ethics of care attention and perception mistrust primary health care structural competency

November 2021

Winner of the annual Westinska prize for outstanding PhD dissertation in philosophy/history by the Royal Society of Humanists in Uppsala (Kungl. Humanistiska Vetenskaps-Samfundet i Uppsala). Doctoral thesis, titled The Negotiation of Urgency: Economies of Attention in an Italian Emergency Room.

September 2016 - Defended the 21st of May 2021

PhD in Cultural Anthropology (research specializations: Medical Anthropology, Global Health, Emergency Medicine)

Dissertation title “The Negotiation of Urgency: Economies of Attention in an Italian Emergency Room” (supervisors: Don Kulick, Claudia Merli; faculty external examiner, Alice Street, University of Edinburgh)


2014-2015 (academic year):

Master in Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology at the University of Bologna (third session of graduation, march 17th 2016) (research interests: medical anthropology), title of the dissertation: “Beyond Mental Health, Bodies, Objects and Efficacy. An Ethnography of a Sewing Workshop”, graduate full marks with honors.

August 2014- December 2014 (Overseas study period):

Winner of the “Overseas” scholarship to study abroad at “Indiana University” of Bloomington IN, USA.

April 2014- June 2014:

Course on Primary Health Care (PHC), certification of attendance and contribution to the C.S.I. (Center for international Health of Bologna)

Febburary 2012:

Visual Anthropology field research “Sardegna 2012, il Carnevale Barbaricino” with I.R.F.O.S.S. (Institution for Research and Formation on Social Sciences).

2009- 2013:

Bachelor degree in “Anthropological Science” the University of Bologna (research interests: medical anthropology), title of the dissertation: “The Improper Health, Social Problems in The Emergency Department”, graduate full marks with honors

I am a Medical Anthropologist and, since April 2022, International Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Medical Humanities (CMH). My research project, “Mistrust in practice: an ethnography of suspicion in general medical practice in the aftermath of COVID-19”, was awarded in 2021 a three-years International Postdoc Grant from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet).

The project documents the dynamics of mistrust in situated healthcare interactions that unfold between patients and general practice doctors (GPs) in Italy in the aftermath of COVID-19. The study highlights mistrust as not just the absence or lack of trust, but as an interactional resource and a force in its own right. In so doing, the project will contribute to debates about the “crisis of trust” in the healthcare sector. This work will provide timely information and analysis that will help us understand the complexity of mistrust in times of health crises.

I defended my Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology in May 2021, and I was part of the Engaging Vulnerability research program (EV) headed by anthropologist Don Kulick. My work, “The Negotiation of Urgency: Economies of Attention in an Italian Emergency Room”, has been awarded the annual Westinska Prize (2021) for outstanding dissertation by the Royal Society of Humanists at Uppsala University.

In my dissertation, I ethnographically explored the everyday life of an Italian Emergency Room as a place where urgency is at stake; caught up in and contested, by competing understandings concerning existential, social and economic precarity. The ER is described as a place of conflict and creative reinvention, where productive negotiations of more equitable ways to distribute care take place amid ER staff and suffering people struggling for social justice.

Since 2018, I am engaged in health workers’ training in “Structural Competency”, a recent innovation in medicine's understanding of and responses to social and health inequalities, to increase professionals’ awareness of structural determinants of health and care access.

Keywords: Triage, Medical anthropology, Urgency, Italy, Emergency Care, Care, Attention, Chronicity, Violence, Mistrust

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Mirko Pasquini