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Durham e-Theses
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Immunities at the margins: Negotiating health and bodily care among Haredi Jews in the UK.

KASSTAN, BENJAMIN,JAMES (2016) Immunities at the margins: Negotiating health and bodily care among Haredi Jews in the UK. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

Full text not available from this repository.
Author-imposed embargo until 20 March 2020.

Abstract

Using an integrated archival and ethnographic approach, this study investigates how the growing Haredi Jewish minority and the UK government negotiate their positions in the context of healthcare services in Manchester as one of the few sites where they directly engage. Low-level uptake of certain maternal and infant health interventions has led to claims that Haredi Jews are ‘hard to reach’ or a ‘non-compliant community.’ This thesis critically engages the above outlook by exploring how responses to healthcare services should be framed.
Rather than evading the NHS altogether, as the ‘hard to reach’ label implies, Haredi Jews in Manchester selectively negotiate healthcare services in order to avoid a cosmological conflict with the halachic custodianship of Jewish bodies. Maternal and infant care is situated as a particularly sensitive area of minority-state relations in which competing constructions of bodily protection are at play. Whilst maternal and infant care has historically formed part of the state’s strategy to govern the population, it is increasingly being seized as a point of intervention by Haredi rabbis, doulas, and parents when attempting to reproduce the Haredi social body.
Following Roberto Esposito’s (2015 [2002]) theoretical elaboration of ‘immunitas’ the present work depicts the margins as giving rise to antonymic conceptions of ‘immunity’ as a means of protecting collective life. Interventions that the state regard as protecting the health of the nation can, in turn, be viewed as a threat to the life of the Jewish social body. Immunity at the margins can be characterised by an antonymic fault of both the Haredim and the state to understand each other’s expectations of health and bodily care. The margins of the state illustrate how responses to healthcare interventions can be entangled within a struggle of integration, insulation, and assimilation for minority groups in ways that are contiguous over time.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Medical anthropology; Historical anthropology; Haredi Jews; Manchester; Judaism; Hard to reach; Protection; Immunisations; Doulas; émigré; maternal and infant care
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Anthropology, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:04 Jan 2017 08:17

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