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Metrics: What Counts in Global Health (Critical Global Health


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Table of Contents

Introduction / Vincanne Adams 1

1. Metrics of the Global Sovereign: Numbers and Stories in Global Health / Vincanne Adams 19

Part I. Getting Good Numbers

2. Estimating Death: A Close Reading of Maternal Mortality Metrics in Malawi / Claire L. Wendland 57

3. The Obligation ot Count: The Politics of Monitoring Maternal Mortality in Nigeria / Adeola Oni-Orisan 82

Part II. Metrics Politics

4. The Power of Data: Global Malaria Governance and the Senegalese Data Retention Strike / Marlee Tichenor 105

5. Native Sovereignty by the Numbers: The Metrics of Yup'ik Behavioral Health Programs / Molly Hales 125

Part III. Metrics Economics

6. Metrics and Market Logics of Global Health / Susan Erikson 147

7. When Good Works Count / Lily Walkover 163

Part IV. Storied Metrics

8. When Numbers and Stories Collide: Randomized Controlled Trials and the Search for Ethnographic Fidelity in the Veterans Administration / Carolyn Smith-Morris 181

9. The Tyranny of the Widget: An American Medical Aid Organization's Struggles with Quantification / Pierre Minn 203

Epilogue: What Counts in Good Global Health? / Vincanne Adams 225

References 231

Contributors 253

Index 255

About the Author

Vincanne Adams is Professor of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.


"[T]his volume is insightful, engaging and impressive. . . . I highly recommend this enlightening and ethnographically rich book. It is a must read for both medical anthropologists and global health practitioners, and would make an excellent addition to the reading list for graduate classes in medical anthropology or global health." -- Lauren Wallace * Anthropology Book Forum *
"[T]his volume will hopefully help stimulate policymakers and researchers to think seriously about whether playing the numbers game is sufficient, either for patients or their clinicians." -- Thomas Christie Williams * LSE Review of Books *
"Metrics is a thoughtful book that powerfully maps some of the problems that accompany the effort to ground GH in metrics. It is obligatory reading for anyone trying to understand contemporary world health." -- Tobias Rees * Bulletin of the History of Medicine *
"Metrics offers a lucid, revealing, and sometimes unnerving tour of global health's quantitative terrain. Its authors take pains to emphasize that they are not opposed to measurement. Rather, they argue for the need to recognize the limits of numbers and the continuing significance of other forms of knowing. From the perspective of medical anthropology this is a vital book." -- Peter Redfield * Medical Anthropology Quarterly *
"Adams' edited book makes a crucial contribution not only to those debates but also to the anthropology and sociology of evidence and measurement and to the social studies of science and medical humanities. Quite importantly, Metrics opens up a new field of inquiry and prompts us to think about how other kinds of metrics and 'storied numbers' are produced, experienced and valued and how they could be (re)imagined in the future." -- Angela Marques Filipe * Sociology of Health & Illness *
"Taken together, this volume offers a useful primer on the role of metrics in shaping the work of global health actors at the macro, meso, and micro levels. The individual case studies offer theoretically and empirically rich examples that would be useful for scholars working in this area and for inclusion in an upper-level undergraduate class." -- J. Lynn Gazley * Contemporary Sociology *
"Metrics is a call to preserve the spaces and experiences that exceed numerical data and counting, and to remain committed to methods and representations that might amplify them.... Metrics is crucial reading for those who eschew and embrace numbers alike."
-- Cal Biruk * PoLAR *

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