Medical Sociology: Susan Bell, Professor of Sociology, Drexel University

"A Place-Sensitive Perspective on Outpatient Hospital Care for Immigrant and Refugee Patients"
169 McNeil Building
Friday, March 24, 2017 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

This paper is based on a hospital ethnography that investigates healthcare architecture in an increasingly large, complex, and urgent global health issue: caring for refugees and other migrants. It analyzes places in two outpatient hospital clinics in one US hospital – waiting rooms, teaching areas and exam rooms – to explore how place matters in hospital care. Following Gieryn (2000) it takes into account the hospital’s geographic location, material form, and investment with meaning. It argues that hospitals are nodes in a transnational network of immigrant and refugee patients that flows into and out of them. The argument is developed by examining the impact and reconfiguration of physical space, routines, regulations, and technologies in encounters between adult immigrant/refugee patients and caregivers. It is based on 9 months of fieldwork in 2012 that included following 69 adult immigrant and refugee men and women patients and observing their encounters with interpreters and clinic staff. Its inclusion of a transnational dimension to understanding place-specific hospital care adds conceptual and empirical depth to the study of how place matters in 21st century hospitals.