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Capturing spirituality: anthropological study about the spiritual dimension of health on scientific medical research

Grant number: 15/18386-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2016
Effective date (End): December 31, 2018
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology - Theory of Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Ronaldo Romulo Machado de Almeida
Grantee:Rodrigo Ferreira Toniol
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):16/13245-0 - Global Studies and the World Health Organization in the legitimation of the ties between spirituality and health, BE.EP.PD


The theme of this research project is the uses, appropriations and varied repercussions of the category of spirituality on the medical sciences in Brazil. Precisely, our concern is to investigate the way in which this category has emerged as a variable in clinical research. Our empirical focus will be the daily lives of researchers engaged in two groups, the PROSER, based at the Institute of Psychiatry, Hospital das Clínicas, Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo and the Research Center in Spirituality and Health (NUPES), affiliated to the Graduate Program in Health from the School of Medicine of Federal University of Juiz de Fora. Research conducted by the medical scientists of these groups use a wide range of technologies that aim to identify, isolate and interpret the spiritual condition of people and the effects of spirituality on their health conditions. In this project we are especially interested in the creation and use of these technologies, ranging from questionnaires to the mapping of brain activity, by scientists engaged in PROSER and NUPES. The emphasis in the mentioned technologies and instruments is due to the fact that, besides being a form of "access" to spirituality, questionnaires, magnetic resonance imaging and brain activity mappings are important mediators for spirituality to emerge as an entity clinically visible and assessable by doctors and researchers. Therefore, this research aims to analyze the technologies, used by medical scientists, of assessment of spirituality and then reflect on how the category spirituality has been articulated and has mobilized actors and institutions dedicated to the promotion of health care. (AU)

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