Doctoral Dissertation Research: Medical Tourism as Economic Recovery in Post-Crisis Argentina

  • Guarnaccia, Peter (PI)

Project Details


Graduate student Emily McDonald, supervised by Dr. Peter Guarnaccia, will undertake research on the transnational practice of medical tourism in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Driven by the rising cost of healthcare, medical tourists from the U.S., U.K. and other countries seek comparatively inexpensive surgeries packaged alongside leisure pursuits, such as tango lessons and wine tasting. In order to attract these foreign patients, doctors in Argentina are making connections with local tourist industries, establishing medical tourism as a key economic recovery strategy in response to the 2001 economic crisis. While becoming generalized as a health care practice, what remains largely unexamined is how medical tourism is emerging as a significant social practice embedded within the particular economic, political and historical contexts of Argentina.

Tracing medical tourist networks through semi-structured interviews, participant observation and the collection of oral histories, the researcher will investigate medical tourism in Argentina. The project will address the following questions: 1) How are newly created medical tourism networks linking previously unconnected people, both within Argentina and transnationally? 2) In what ways does medical tourism, as an economic recovery strategy, inform our understanding of economic and political conditions within Argentina? 3) How are historically and culturally embedded concepts of race and nationality used to market medical tourism to Buenos Aires, and to differentiate Argentina from other medical tourism destinations?

Understanding the dynamics of medical tourism will speak to mainstream debates around healthcare, and will advance understandings of transnationalism, economic recovery and the commodification of biomedicine. The research also will contribute to the education of a social scientist.

Effective start/end date9/1/072/28/09


  • National Science Foundation: $7,070.00


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