Is it easy to be healthy? Health behaviour and (in)equality in Latvia

MHM Conversations


In the first live broadcast of the discussion cycle "MVM Talks. Is it easy to be healthy? Health Behaviour and Health (In)equality in Latvia” Anna Žabicka, a social anthropologist and chair of the discussion, will focus on the factors that affect people's health behavior, health condition and equal opportunities for health care. It is much more difficult to be “healthy” or one who follows the recommendations of a healthy lifestyle, performs regular routine examinations and follows the instructions of health care professionals in conditions with limited financial means, socio-economic insecurity, lack of social and psychological support, limited job opportunities, responsibility for other relatives, as well as complicated relationships with doctors or unpleasant previous experiences. What social problems and inequalities do family doctors see in their practices and how do these affect a person's health and chances of being healthy? What are people doing and can do by themselves to take care of their health on a daily basis? 

MVM talks will be led by social anthropologist Anna Žabicka. The guests of this first conversation are social policy expert Ruta Zilvere and family doctor Linda Šīrone. Ruta Zilvere is an independent social policy expert with long experience in the Ministry of Welfare in the development of policies and legislation, as well as in the establishment of administrative structures and procedures. Linda Šīrone is a family doctor in Liepāja and the head of LLC “Liepājas ģimenes veselības centrs”. 

The recording of the conversation can be watched on the museum's Youtube channel here (in Latvian)!

About "MVM Talks"

Starting from 13 May, MVM offers a cycle of conversations on health, which will be led by social anthropologist Anna Žabicka. The cycle speaks of health as a pluralistic experience and reality. How to understand this? "The body, the patient, the disease, the doctor, the technician, the technology: af all there is more than just one," writes philosopher Annemarie Mol. Even when the diagnosis is the same, as a patient with a diagnosis X, I am a completely different patient for one specialist than for another. Manifestations of the body, of disease and health, their course, representation, and experience are a multi-faceted, multi-layered and flowing reality, the formation involves a set of many changing factors. My health changes from day to day, from environment to environment, it encounters everything that is around me and lives with what is already in me. As a human being, I too am in a constant relationship with "more than the human world," meaning other living beings, the inanimate nature, the man-made environment, technology and physical, political, social, and mental structures, as well as our fellow human beings.

In this MVM conversation cycle, together with medical and social science experts and professionals, we will talk about the human being and their health, trying to see it and cover it on a much wider scale than the “norm” which does not require medical intervention. In six talks, we will address issues such as health inequalities in Latvia, the place of people who use drugs in society and their access to health care, the impact of the urban environment on health behavior, food and food chains, as well as loneliness and sexual health and sexuality. At the heart of the conversation is the human being – one's relationship with oneself, with the environment, time, space and socio-political structure – and the health we experience.

About the host 

MVM talks will be led by social anthropologist Anna Žabicka. Anna is currently writing a dissertation on aging and care in the Latvian countryside, based on a long-term ethnographic study in a small Latvian rural nursing home. Anna specializes in medical anthropology, with a special academic interest in aging, care, health and social inequality, death and kinship. She holds master's degrees in social anthropology from Wayne State University in the United States and Riga Stradins University (2014) . She is currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of Vienna (Universität Wien) and teaches Anthropology of Medicine, Death and Kinship at Riga Stradins University.

Full class lottery ticket for the Latvian Red Cross three-stage lottery No.21 in Riga, October 1930.


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