Anthropologist, Research Fellow, CNRS
Qualified to Direct Research
I am an anthropologist and my research is situated at the crossroads of the anthropology of health, care and the body and Science and Technology Studies (STS). I hold a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge, and from 2011 to 2018 was lecturer at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, before joining the CNRS as a full-time researcher in October 2018.
The main areas that have marked my research trajectory so far include 1) the anthropology of the body and gender studies, 2) pharmaceutical practices, drugs and addiction, 3) nutrition, obesity and so-called non-communicable diseases and 4) practices of evidence and the politics of knowledge (and ignorance) in public health. My research is based on long-term fieldwork, in Brazil primarily.
My recent publications include Plastic Bodies: Sex hormones and menstrual suppression in Brazil, published by Duke University Press in 2016. Based on an ethnography of the circulation of hormonal contraceptives, the book proposes to read the body as eminently plastic. Plastic Bodies received the Michelle Z. Rosaldo and Diana Forsythe prizes from the American Anthropological Association in 2017.
A large part of my research has focused on pharmaceuticals and drugs as social objects, objects of knowledge and objects of circulation. This work has been developed as part of the ERC Advanced Grant program "ChemicalYouth: What drugs do for youth in their lives" at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Sciences Research (AISSR, at the University van Amsterdam) which I joined from 2013 -2018 as Senior Research Fellow.
Since 2017 I have been coordinating a project entitled "Healing Encounters: Reinventing an indigenous medicine in the clinic and beyond". This project aims to develop a symmetrical, ethnographically grounded theory of what healing entails from the perspective of those who give, receive or evaluate healing. It is designed to break with binary frames that contrast indigenous and biomedical healing, positioning them on a tradition– modernity continuum. To do this, it will study the striking expansion and prolific reinventions of healing practices that make use of the Amazonian herbal brew ayahuasca. The unprecedented globalization of this indigenous medicine provides a unique opportunity to study healing encounters ethnographically.
- Hardon, A. and Sanabria, E. 2017. “Fluid Drugs: Revisiting the Anthropology of Pharmaceuticals.” Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 46:117-132
- Talin, P. and Sanabria, E. 2017. “Ayahuasca’s entwined efficacy: An ethnographic study of ritual healing from ‘addiction’.” International Journal Drug Policy. Vol. 44 pp23-30
- Sanabria, E. 2016. Plastic Bodies: sex hormones and menstrual suppression in Brazil. Experimental Futures series, Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press
- Sanabria, E. 2016. “Circulating Ignorance: Complexity and Agnogenesis in the Obesity ‘Epidemic’.” Cultural Anthropology 31(1) pp131–158