by Renée van der Wiel
My hope is that this poster might provide some light relief and a sense of community among those who have done in-depth social research in medical institutions. And, for those who have not, I hope the tool of humour here provides some insight into the emotional labour, tending towards existential crisis, that can be involved in this kind of methodology. This poster does more than just highlight the fraught relationship I had and still have to the professionals I was studying, clinician-researchers associated with academic hospitals in Johannesburg. These illustrations are a shorthand for the important reflexive work that emerges from such a project. This work prompts interrogation of one’s own epistemological judgements and the value of one’s own research in a context with a pervasive sense of crisis in healthcare and tertiary education. This poster is a companion piece to my short commentary titled, Challenging perceptions of disciplinary divide: An ethnographer’s experience of collegiality, collaboration, and crisis, in which I discuss these issues with more (scholarly) depth.
Being part of the Medical and Health Humanities in Africa network has been an opportunity to mull over these methodological and epistemological issues in a supportive as well as challenging space, where I am able to engage with and learn from colleagues from clinical, arts, and social science backgrounds. This gives me some aid in the ongoing task of finding ways to write thoughtfully “from the south” without falling back on familiar critiques, the quandary I depict in the last frame.