School of Social and Political Science

Professor Alice Street

Job Title

Professor of Anthropology and Health

Photo
Alice Street's photo

Room number

G.1

Street (Address)

22 George Square

City (Address)

Edinburgh

Country (Address)

UK

Post code (Address)

EH8 9LD

Research interests

Research interests

I received my PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge in 2008.  I held an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship and a Nuffield New Career Development Fellowship at the University of Sussex until 2013 when I joined the University of Edinburgh as a Chancellor's Fellow. I have published widely on the anthropology of global health interventions, medical institutions and medical innovation and am the author of the academic monograph Biomedicine in an Unstable Place: Infrastructure and Personhood in a Papua New Guinea Hospital, published by Duke University Press. I am Principal Investigator of DiaDev, a six year research programme to investigate the design and use of diagnostic devices in global health, funded by the European Research Council. 

Topics interested in supervising

I am interested in supervising students working in the areas of anthropology of biomedicine, hospital ethnography, global health innovation, and anthropology of the state. I have experience carrying out research in Melanesia, South Asia and West Africa.

If you are interested in being supervised by Alice Street, please see the links below (open in new windows) for more information:

Background

 

Health Care Sustainability

My current research focuses on the material politics of health care waste. Current health systems are premised on the manufacture, transportation and disposal of millions of tons of single-use plastic products every year. I am interested in how we came to build this linear economy of health care, what impacts it is having on people, and what people are trying to do to solve this problem. I work with biomedical engineers to explore how social science and engineering knowledge can be brought together in order to develop more sustainable and equitable global health innovation systems. 

Investigating Diagnostic Devices in Global Health

The DiaDev project, Investigating the Design and Use of Diagnostic Devices in Global Health, explores the emergent role that diagnostic devices are playing in the transformation of global health partnerships and national health systems in low and middle-income countries. Drawing on novel conceptual and methodological tools from social anthropology, it investigates the social, cultural and technical processes involved in developing, deploying and using diagnostic devices in resource-limited settings. The goal is to improve our understanding of relationships between technological innovation and health systems strengthening, with a view to guiding global health policy.

 

Hospitals in Resource-Limited Settings

Research onhospitals in resource-limited settings explores the ways in which people engage with biomedical technologies in conditions of uncertainty and precariousness. My book, Biomedicine in an Unstable Place: Infrastructure and Personhood in a Papua New Guinean Hospital is published by Duke University Press.

 

Global Health in Fragile States

Research on global health governance has examined the ways in which managerial technologies travel to places of state absence or fragility. I am interested in the ways in which managerial knowledge practices have increasingly underpinned global health in recent years and the emergence of management as form of a state-building in an era of securitisation. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in a government health office it has examined issues of bureaucratic materiality and managerial personhood and expertise.

 

Humanitarian Goods

Research on 'Off the Grid' infrastructures examines the relationships that are built into and sustain physical infrastructures for health in locations that are beyond the reach of centrally planned public infrastructures. I examine “humanitarian goods”, such as rapid diagnostic kits or fortified foods, that are developed through public-private partnerships as technical solutions to fragile health systems. In 2013 I was awarded one of the ESRC’s first grants under its new ‘Transforming Social Science’ scheme for a comparative study of infrastructures for living “off the grid”.

 

Publicly Available Lectures

Lab on a Chip - Engineering Sustainable Futures

Rethinking Infrastructure for Global Health

The Nutraceutical Self

Technologies Designed for Sparse Environments

Mobile Laboratories: Integrating Diagnostics with Health Infrastructure

For further information please visit my profile on Academia 

Find more information on our MSc in Medical Anthropology page

Recent Publications

2023        ‘Bring me a test and I will raise the world: Toward an anthropology of the possible in global health’, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (In press: due for publication as part of special issue on ‘After failure’.

2023        ‘The ready to hand test: diagnostic availability and usability in Sierra Leone’ PLOS Global Public Health (In press)

2022        ‘Human preparedness: Relational infrastructures and medical countermeasures in Sierra Leone’. Global Public Health 22(1):1-17 (Co-authored with Shona Lee, Ann H Kelly, Eva Vernooij, Luisa Enria, James Rogers, Rashid Ansumana, Mahmood H. Bangura, and Shelley Lee. Joint lead author with Shona Lee).

2022        The hidden burden of medical testing: Public view and experiences of Covid-19 testing as a social and ethical process, BMC Public Health 22(1):1-13. (Co-authored with Shona Lee and Imogen Bevan. Lead author)

2022        To Fail at Scale!: Minimalism and Maximalism in Humanitarian Entrepreneurship, Social Anthropology 30(2): 101-119 (Co-authored with Jamie Cross – equal contributions)

2022        Diagnostic Waste, Whose Responsibility? Globalization and Health 18, no. 1 (2022): 1-7. (with Eva Vernooij, and Mohamed Hashim Rogers. Lead author).

2022        Engineering a sustainable future for point-of-care diagnostic and single-use microfluidic devices, Lab on a Chip (online first). (Co-authored with Alfredo Edoardo Ongaro, Zibusiso Ndlovu, Elodie Sollier, Collins Otieno, Pascale Ondoa, and Maïwenn Kersaudy-Kerhoas. (Joint senior author. Contributed to conceptualisation, background research, writing, editing)

2022        Global Health, Accelerated: Rapid diagnostics and the fragile solidarities of ‘emergency R&D’." Economy and Society 51(2): 187-210. (Co-authored with Ann Kelly and Javier Lezaun. Equal contributions).

2021        Patient Pathways and Diagnostic Value in Sierra Leone.
Medicine Anthropology Theory 8, 1–11 (Co-authored with Fatmatah Bah and Eva Vernooij. Led on conceptualisation, methodology and writing)

2021        Acceptability and perceived utility of different diagnostic tests and sample types for trachoma surveillance in the Bijagos Islands, Guinea Bissau.Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 115, 847–853 (Co-authored with Ramandeep Singh Sahota, Salimato Sanha, Anna Last, Eunice Cassama, Adriana Goncalves, Ann H. Kelly, and Emma M. Harding-Esch)

2021        Responsibility, repair and care in Sierra Leone’s health system. Social Science and Medicine (pre-publication online) (Co-authored with Eva Vernooij and Frances Koker)

2021        Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behavior Related to COVID-19 Testing: A Rapid Scoping Review. Diagnostics, 11(9):1685. (Co-authored with Imogen Bevan, Mats Stage Baxter, Helen R Stagg)

2020        Building diagnostic systems in Sierra Leone: The role of point-of-care devices in laboratory strengthening. African Journal of Laboratory Medicine 9, no. 2 (2020): 1-5. (Co-authored with Rashid Ansumana, Fatmata Bah, Ann H Kelly, Francess Koker, James Rogers, Doris Harding, Eva Vernooij, Isatta Wurie. Lead author).

2019        A cross-sectional survey of practices and knowledge among antibiotic retailers in Nairobi, Kenya. Journal of global health 9(2) (Co-authored with Dishon Muloi, Eric M. Fevre, Judy Bettridge, Robert Rono, Daniel Ong'are, James M. Hassell, Maurice K. Karani. Contribution to conceptualisation, methodology and editing)

2019        Health, Institutions and Governance in Melanesia. In The Melanesian World. Hirsch, E. & Rollason, W. (eds.). 1 ed., Routledge. p. 300-314

2018        Ghostly Ethics. Medical Anthropology 37, 703–707

2017        Deep diagnostics. Limn, 9. Little Development Devices/Humanitarian Goods

2017        Preface: Little development devices/Humanitarian goods. Limn, 9. (Co-authored with Jamie Cross, Stephen Collier and Peter Redfield. Equal authorship).

2016        The hospital and the hospital: Infrastructure, human tissue, labour and the scientific production of relational value, Social Studies of Science 46, 938–960.

2016        Making people care. The Lancet 387, 333–334.

Works within

Staff Hours and Guidance

Please make an appointment by email.

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Street A, Kersaudy-Kerhoas M, Ndlovu Z. From equitable access to equitable innovation: Rethinking bioengineering for global health. Nature Reviews Bioengineering. 2024 Apr 2. doi: 10.1038/s44222-024-00182-5
Perkins J, Nelson S, Birley E, Dozier M, McCarthy A, Atkins N et al. Is qualitative social research in global health fulfilling its potential? A systematic evidence mapping of research on point-of-care testing in low- and middle-income contexts. BMC Health Services Research. 2024 Feb 7;24(1):1-13. 172. doi: 10.1186/s12913-024-10645-5
Street A, Taylor EM. Equivocal diagnostics: Making a 'good' point-of-care test for elimination in global health. Social Studies of Science. 2023 Dec 6. doi: 10.1177/03063127241246727
Street A, Kelly AH. Tolerable tests: Regulating diagnostic innovation in a global health emergency, lessons from Ebola. Science, Technology, & Human Values (ST&HV). 2023 Oct 16.
Street A. Make me a test and I will save the world: Towards an anthropology of the possible in global health. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute . 2023 Apr;29(S1):95-113. Epub 2023 Feb 7. doi: 10.1111/1467-9655.13904
Bauld L, Street A, Connelly R, Bevan I, Morlet Corti Y, Baxter MS et al. Students’ and staffs’ views and experiences of asymptomatic testing on a university campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland: a mixed methods study. BMJ Open. 2023 Mar 20;13(3):e065021. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-065021
Street A, Vernooij E, Koker F, Baxter MS, Bah F, Rogers J et al. The "ready-to-hand" test: Diagnostic availability and usability in primary health care settings in Sierra Leone. PLOS global public health. 2023 Feb 10;3(2):e0000604. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgph.0000604
Lemm D (Artist), Street A (Producer), Cross J (Producer). Mapping Eigg 2023.
Street A, Lee SJ, Bevan I. The hidden burden of medical testing: Public views and experiences of COVID-19 testing as a social and ethical process. BMC Public Health. 2022 Sept 30;22(1):1-13. 1837. doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-14217-2
Ongaro AE, Ndlovu Z, Sollier E, Otieno C, Ondoa P, Street A et al. Engineering a sustainable future for point-of-care diagnostics and single-use microfluidic devices. Lab on a chip. 2022 Jun 23;22(17):3122-3137. doi: 10.1039/d2lc00380e
Cross J, Street A. To fail at scale! Minimalism and maximalism in humanitarian entrepreneurship. Social Anthropology. 2022 Jun 1;30(2):101-119. doi: 10.3167/saas.2022.300207
Street A, Vernooij E, Rogers MH. Diagnostic waste: Whose responsibility? Globalization and Health. 2022 Mar 12;18(1):1-7. 30. doi: 10.1186/s12992-022-00823-7
Lee SJ, Vernooij E, Enria L, Kelly AH, Rogers J, Ansumana R et al. Human preparedness: Relational infrastructures and medical countermeasures in Sierra Leone. Global public health. 2022;17(12):4129-4145. Epub 2022 Sept 27. doi: 10.1080/17441692.2022.2110917
Kelly AH, Lezaun J, Street A. Global health, accelerated: Rapid diagnostics and the fragile solidarities of ‘emergency R&D’. Economy and Society. 2022;51(2):187-210. Epub 2022 Feb 28. doi: 10.1080/03085147.2021.2014730
Street A, (ed.), Kelly AH, (ed.). Medical testing, diagnosis and value. Medicine Anthropology Theory. 2021 Nov 3;8(2).
Street A, Kelly AH. Introduction: Diagnostics, medical testing, and value in medical anthropology. Medicine Anthropology Theory. 2021 Nov 3;8(2):1-16. doi: 10.17157/mat.8.2.6516
Bevan I, Baxter MS, Stagg HR, Street A. Knowledge, attitudes, and behavior related to COVID-19 testing: A rapid scoping review. Diagnostics. 2021 Sept 15;11(9):1-31. doi: 10.3390/diagnostics11091685
Bah F, Vernooij E, Street A. Patient pathways and diagnostic value in Sierra Leone. Medicine Anthropology Theory. 2021 Aug 18;8(2):1-11. doi: 10.17157/mat.8.2.5212
Sahota RS, Sanha S, Last A, Cassama E, Goncalves A, Kelly AH et al. Acceptability and perceived utility of different diagnostic tests and sample types for trachoma surveillance in the Bijagos Islands, Guinea Bissau. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2021 Aug;115(8):847–853. Epub 2021 Jan 14. doi: 10.1093/trstmh/traa179
Vernooij E, Koker F, Street A. Responsibility, repair and care in Sierra Leone's health system. Social Science and Medicine. 2021 Jul 22;114260. Epub 2021 Jul 22. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.114260
Street A, Baxter MS, Christison S, Bevan I, Bauld L. Student views and experiences of a symptomatic COVID-19 testing at the University of Edinburgh. 2021 Apr 2, p. 1-35.
Street A, Bevan I, Lee S, Taylor M, Templeton K. Testing and trust: Public perceptions, expectations, and experiences of COVID-19 testing in Scotland. Chief Scientist Office, 2021. 6 p.
Vernooij E, Kelly A, Rogers J, Gbetuwa M, Street A. Laboratory strengthening in public health emergencies: Perspectives from Sierra Leone. 2020 Sept 1, p. 1-47.
Kelly AH, Street A, Vernooij E. Preparing Africa for COVID-19: Learning lessons from the Ebola outbreak. 2020.
Kelly AH, Vernooij E, Street A. Covid-19 laboratory preparedness in Africa: Lessons can be learned from the Ebola outbreak. 2020.
Ansumana R, Bah F, Biao K, Harding D, Kelly AH, Koker F et al. Building diagnostic systems in Sierra Leone: The role of point-of-care devices in laboratory strengthening. African Journal of Laboratory Medicine. 2020 Apr 1;9(2). doi: 10.4102/ajlm.v9i2.1029
Muloi D, Fèvre EM, Bettridge J, Rono R, Ong'are D, Hassell JM et al. A cross-sectional survey of practices and knowledge among antibiotic retailers in Nairobi, Kenya. Journal of Global Health. 2019 Dec 1;9(2):010412. Epub 2019 Aug 25. doi: 10.7189/jogh.09.020412
Street A. Health, institutions and governance in Melanesia. In Hirsch E, Rollason W, editors, The Melanesian World. 1 ed. CRC PRESS-TAYLOR & FRANCIS GROUP. 2019. p. 300-314. (Routledge Worlds). doi: 10.4324/9781315529691-17
Street A, (ed.). Diagnostic stories. 2018.
Street A. Ghostly ethics. Medical Anthropology. 2018;37(8):703-707. Epub 2018 Dec 12. doi: 10.1080/01459740.2018.1521400
Collier SJ, (Guest ed.), Cross J, (Guest ed.), Redfield P, (Guest ed.), Street A, (Guest ed.). Little Development Devices/Humanitarian Goods. Limn. 2017 Nov 1;9.
Collier SJ, Cross J, Redfield P, Street A. Preface: Little development devices/Humanitarian goods. Limn. 2017 Nov 1;9.
Street A. Deep diagnostics. Limn. 2017 Nov;(9).
Street A. The hospital and the hospital: Infrastructure, human tissue, labour and the scientific production of relational value. Social Studies of Science. 2016 Dec 30;46(6):938-960. Epub 2016 Apr 6. doi: 10.1177/0306312716638953
Street A. Making people care. The Lancet. 2016 Jan 23;387(10016):333-334. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)00119-7
Street A. When comparison comes first: Reflections on theory in medical anthropology. Medicine Anthropology Theory. 2014 Dec 1;1(1):34-41. doi: 10.17157/mat.1.1.207
Street A. Perspectives: The Heartsink Clinic. The Lancet. 2014 Nov 29;384:1918-1919. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)62268-6
Street A. Biomedicine in an Unstable Place: Infrastructure and Personhood in a Papua New Guinean Hospital. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014. 304 p. (Experimental Futures). doi: 10.1215/9780822376668
Street A. Food as pharma: marketing nutraceuticals to India’s rural poor. Critical Public Health. 2014 Oct 12. doi: 10.1080/09581596.2014.966652
Street A, (ed.), Copeman J, (ed.). Social Theory After Strathern. Newbury Park, CA: SAGE, 2014. 288 p. (Theory, Culture & Society; 2-3).
Street A, Copeman J. Social theory after Strathern: An introduction. Theory, Culture & Society. 2014 Mar 1;31(2-3):7-37. Epub 2014 Jan 21. doi: 10.1177/0263276413508153
Copeman J, Street A. The image after Strathern: Art and persuasive relationality in India's sanguinary politics. Theory, Culture & Society. 2014 Jan 21;31(2-3):185-220. Epub 2014 Jan 21. doi: 10.1177/0263276413500321
Street A. Seen by the state: Bureaucracy, visibility and governmentality in a Papua New Guinean hospital. The Australian Journal of Anthropology. 2012 Apr;23(1):1-21. Epub 2012 Feb 23. doi: 10.1111/j.1757-6547.2012.00164.x
Street A, Coleman S. Introduction: Real and imagined spaces. Space and Culture. 2012 Feb 29;15(1):4-17. doi: 10.1177/1206331211421852
Street A. Affective infrastructure: Hospital landscapes of hope and failure. Space and Culture. 2012 Feb 1;15(1):44-56. Epub 2011 Dec 2. doi: 10.1177/1206331211426061
Street A, (Guest ed.), Coleman S, (Guest ed.). Hospital Heterotopias: Ethnographies of Biomedical and Non-Biomedical Spaces. Space and Culture. 2012 Feb;15(1).
Street A. Artefacts of Not-Knowing: The Medical Record, the Diagnosis and the Production of Uncertainty in Papua New Guinean Biomedicine. Social Studies of Science. 2011 Dec;41(6):815-834. doi: 10.1177/0306312711419974
Street A. Belief as Relational Action: Christianity and Cultural Change in Papua New Guinea. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 2010 Jun;16(2):260-278. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9655.2010.01624.x
Street A. [Review of] Bodies, Commodities, and Biotechnologies: Death, Mourning, and Scientific Desire in the Realm of Human Organ Transfer by Lesley Sharp. Medical Anthropology Quarterly. 2010 Mar 16;24(1):131-133. doi: 10.1111/j.1548-1387.2010.01092.x
Street A. [Review of] The Collectors of Lost Souls: Turning Kuru Scientists into Whitemen – by Warwick Anderson. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 2009 Nov 6;15(4):872-873. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9655.2009.01589_15.x
Street A. Failed Recipients: Extracting Blood in a Papua New Guinean Hospital. Body & Society. 2009 Jun;15(2):193-215. doi: 10.1177/1357034X09103442
Cross J, Street A. Anthropology at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Anthropology Today (AT). 2009;25(4):4-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8322.2009.00675.x