Letizia Bonanno is a medical anthropologist working on issues of care and pharmaceuticals. In March 2019 she earned her PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Manchester and, since April 2020, has been appointed to the position of University Teacher in Sociology of Health at Loughborough University. She has written about her use of drawing as a fieldwork method here: ‘I swear I hated it, and therefore drew it’.
“Between 2015 and 2017, I carried out fieldwork in a social clinic of solidarity in Athens, exploring social medicine and community-based practices of care in times of deep economic and social distress. I spent almost eighteen months researching and volunteering in the small self-organised pharmacy attached to the social clinic. Together with a bunch of other women, I counted, sorted and relabelled pills, leftover medications and blisters that had been donated to the social clinic and were later distributed for free to those citizens who approached the social clinic in search of some form of medical care.
These drawings are my fieldnotes, those I was too tired to write in a proper Malinowskian fashion. They visually tell the story of my fieldwork in Athens and depict the people I met and cared about me as much as they cared for their community that the 2008 economic crisis had torn apart. Each of the illustrations I have selected tells a standing-alone story while altogether they visualise the process by which I slowly gained familiarity with the volunteers and the place I found myself immersed. They bespeak intimacy, solidarity and help, ultimately addressing my core research question about the reconfiguration of modes of care in times of crisis. I hold care as both a feminist practice upon which the everyday is reorganised and a theoretical horizon which, by and large, informs my research.”