Below is a selection of recently published books which the Editorial Team at MSo think are of interest to the MedSoc community.

We would welcome formal reviews of any of these publications or alternatively you may add a brief comment here, below the details.

War and Embodied Memory: Becoming Disabled in Sierra Leone - Maria Berghs

How do you become an 'amputee', 'war-wounded', 'victim' or 'disabled' person? This book describes how an amputee and war-wounded community was created after a decade long conflict (1991-2002) in Sierra Leone. Beginning with a general socio-cultural and historical analysis of what is understood by impairment and disability, it also explains how disability was politically created both during the conflict and post-conflict, as violence became part of the everyday. Despite participating in the neoliberal rebuilding of the nation state, ex-combatants and the security of the nation were the government’s main priorities, not amputee and war-wounded people.

In order to survive, people had to form partnerships with NGOs and participate in new discourses and practices around disability and rights, thus accessing identities of 'disabled' or 'persons with disabilities'. NGOs, charities and religious organisations that understood impairment and disability were most successful at aiding this community of people. However, since discourse and practice on disability were mainly bureaucratic, top-down, and not democratic about mainstreaming disability, neoliberal organisations and INGOs have caused a new colonisation of consciousness, and amputee and war-wounded people have had to become skilled in negotiating these new forms of subjectivities to survive.

Contents: Part I: Setting the scene: locating disability in Sierra Leone; Intersections between anthropology, disability, development and conflict; A general and socio-cultural analysis of impairment and disability; The political background of the creation of disability. Part II: Rebuilding and rehabilitating the nation state: creating national memory and disabled subjectivity?; Rebuilding the social world; Managing life as an individual?; Disability mainstreaming and social activism; Reparations, reintegration and peace; Looking to the future; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author: Maria Berghs is a Research Fellow in Health Sciences at the University of York, UK.

Reviews: ‘In War and Embodied Memory Maria Berghs provides a masterful and scholarly account of the experiences of war-wounded people following the decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone. It is essential reading for students, researchers and academics across all academic disciplines. No one with an interest in the creation of disability, poverty and inequality in the global south should be without it.’
Colin Barnes, University of Leeds, UK

‘At times harrowing, at others hopeful, War and Embodied Memory is an important and timely exploration of disability, survival and resistance in post-conflict Sierra Leone. The engaging and accessible multi-layered analysis takes forward our understanding at both macro and micro levels and provides essential insights for anyone with an interest in disability studies, anthropology or global justice.’
Alison Sheldon, University of Leeds, UK

Published: December 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4094-4210-3
Price: £54.00

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