Hans Tunestad, PhD, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

The Construction of Evidence-Based Psychotherapy: An Anthropological Inquiry into Health Care Infrastructure

In recent decades, health care has been transformed by a movement towards so called evidence-based medicine. Foundational in this movement is the development of regional, national and transnational organizations for health technology assessment. A primary motivation for this movement is found in the perceived need to accomplish a more efficient health care apparatus. Yet through the methods employed by assessment organizations – making use of large quantities of data available through the new information and communication technologies – the concept of evidence is given a specific meaning, which also affects the way healing is thought about and accomplished.

This study aims to investigate the construction of evidence-based psychotherapy in Sweden. Fieldwork will be conducted in various organizations involved in constructing and upholding national guidelines for psychotherapeutic treatments, with the specific focus on how such ideals and practices transforms psychotherapy. The study thereby raises questions about how illness and health are conceptualized, how expertise is constructed and organized, and more generally about the constitution of health care infrastructure in a knowledge-based economy.

Hans Tunestad is currently lecturer at the Department of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University, from where he also received his PhD in May 2014. He is interested in the intertwinement of therapy and economy in contemporary welfare society.

All seminars in the series.