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Durham University

Department of Anthropology


Publication details for Dr Hannah Brown

Brown, Hannah (2016). Managerial relations in Kenyan health care: Empathy and the limits of governmentality. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 22(3): 591-609.

Author(s) from Durham


This article describes relationships between a team of mid-level government health managers working in a rural Kenyan district and those whom they managed: health workers based at rural health facilities. In this context, managerial expertise was heavily informed by personal biography and a moral obligation to empathize with the difficult working conditions and familial responsibilities of junior staff. Management should be studied seriously in anthropology, as a powerful social and bureaucratic form. This focus must extend beyond a concern with tactics and technologies of governance to consider how modalities of managerial expertise are also shaped by biography, intersubjectivity, and professional identity.