Edinburgh Infectious Diseases
EID logo 2019

Medical Anthropology - EdCMA

The Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology (EdCMA) is a world leading academic unit dedicated to the anthropological study of the body, health, and medicine.

Medical Anthropology

Medical Anthropology is subfield of social anthropology, which applies anthropological ideas, comparative theories and methodologies to the study of global health problems.

Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology website

With the increasing move towards interdisciplinary teams and research medical anthropology has far more to offer than just the application of our particular qualitative research methods. This field occupies a unique niche in the rapidly growing group of social sciences that investigates health and illness. Many of the members of the Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology draw on years of expertise and fieldwork in the Global South or with poor or otherwise marginal populations. They thus have in-depth knowledge of environments where biomedical models of illness and formal healthcare systems encounter major problems.

Centre of expertise

The Centre currently has a wide range of topical and regional expertise, which includes anthropology as applied to: infectious disease, global health, mental health, hospitals and health development bureaucracies, medical anthropology and STS, pharmaceuticals, functional foods, medical enhancement technologies, traditional and alternative healing, gender and reproduction, vaccines and laboratories, migration and health, environmental health and human-animal relationships. Our regional expertise lies in South Asia, North, Central and South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Melanesia.


General membership of the Centre is open to all members of staff at the University of Edinburgh with research interests in health, illness, and medicine. Membership of PhD students and post-docs who are working on health-topics from an anthropological or other social science perspective are strongly encouraged. Members can include all colleagues whose work is related to medical anthropology, or whose research and practice may be informed by this.


Ian Harper (Director)

Lucy Lowe (Deputy Director)