Doctors that harm, doctors that heal: reimagining medicine in post-conflict Aceh, Indonesia

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10 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the fears and desires that conflict survivors invest in biomedicine in post-conflict Aceh, Indonesia. After examining common criticisms of Acehnese doctors, I go on to discuss the practise of Acehnese medical travel to Malaysia and the desirable depictions of biomedicine that are generated through cross-border clinical encounters. Building on Pinto [2004. Development Without Institutions: Ersatz Medicine and the Politics of Everyday Life in Rural North India. Cultural Anthropology, 19(3):337–364], I argue that in the post-conflict period, biomedicine acts as both a site of terror and ‘point of imagination and longing’ that guides my interlocutors' understandings of the changing world around them. The article brings debates about medicine and violence into dialogue with a body of post-conflict ethnography, showing how popular imaginaries of biomedicine can shape the process of post-conflict world building.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-291
Number of pages20
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • medicine
  • doctors
  • violence
  • modernity
  • post-conflict ethnography
  • Aceh (Indonesia)
  • Medicine

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