Toward an Anthropology of Immunology: The Body as Nation State

Emily Martin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In this article I describe the main imagery currently used in popular and scientific descriptions of the immune system in the United States: the body as nation state at war over its external borders, containing internal surveillance systems to monitor foreign intruders. Although in some respects this is a boundary‐oriented, internally flat system, in other respects it contains suppressed hierarchies that draw on cultural concepts of race and gender. I suggest what kinds of ideological work such imagery may be doing and what uses people make of it. Other models of the body and immune responses that build on different imagery are described. 1990 American Anthropological Association

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)410-426
    Number of pages17
    JournalMedical Anthropology Quarterly
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Dec 1990

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Anthropology


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