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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Geography of the Clinic: Spatial Strategies at a Western Cape Community Health Centre
Author:Muller, Lauren
Periodical:Anthropology Southern Africa
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:health centres
Health and Nutrition
Abstract:This article is based on a larger ethnographic study on the everyday material and spatial worlds of an embattled biomedical institution in Clareview, an urban working class, 'coloured' township on Cape Town's Cape Flats (South Africa). Clareview Community Health Centre (CHC) is a fortified primary health facility in crisis. Gang violence, functional inefficiency and antagonistic patient/health worker relations threaten the staff's safety and biomedical roles. 'Space' is used here as a theoretical lens to understand how these problems are spatially constructed, and how spatial structuring is used as a strategic resource at this biomedical boundary. Principles of modern space and its disciplining effect are shown to be unevenly realized throughout the biomedical space, and the impact of this on social identity, meaning and embodied practices is explored. The Trauma Unit is examined as a particularly open and vulnerable site of disordered, but creative spatial practices which utilize local cultural knowledge and performance. The meaning and ontology of space are described as potentially multiple and unstable. The health centre is seen as attempting to maintain and reinforce physical boundaries which have not only functional, but also symbolic significance. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]