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Med Anthropol. 2018 Nov-Dec;37(8):708-721. doi: 10.1080/01459740.2018.1463528. Epub 2018 May 10.

Clean Blood, Religion, and Moral Triage in Tuberculosis Vaccine Trials.

Author information

1
a Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine , London , United Kingdom.
2
b Department of Anthropology , Durham University , Durham , United Kingdom.
3
c Department of Pathology, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town , Cape Town , South Africa.

Abstract

During ethnographic research at a tuberculosis vaccine trial site in South Africa, trial participants often evoked the idiom of "clean blood." In this article, we illustrate how the trials enacted a form of moral triage in which "objective" bioscientific knowledge and moral subjectivity were coproduced. Participation created possibilities to demonstrate healthiness, respectability, and godliness in a context where positive self-imaginings were hard won, but could also lead to dejection and shame. We suggest that struggles to be recognized as virtuous are often overlooked in anthropological critiques of clinical trials and bioethics, but are important for understanding how trials meld with local moral worlds.

KEYWORDS:

South Africa; bioethics; clinical trials; morality; religion; tuberculosis

PMID:
29746161
DOI:
10.1080/01459740.2018.1463528
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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