Cosmopolitans in Australian and New Zealand Health Care Systems


  • Tanisha Jowsey



clinical, health, student


Health systems are abstract spaces in which cosmopolitanisms of care emerge. This article identifies four key types of care cosmopolitans: health care practitioners, health care students, patients, and informal carers of patients. Care cosmopolitans are individuals who enter into health systems from their various angles and draw upon their individually-held cultures, experiences and knowledge – aided by technology and salient discursively-operationalised ideas – to manage their own or other people’s health. To illustrate, I first explore the enculturating processes of medical education – including training in cultural competence and cultural safety – in terms of the way they inform students and health care practitioners as care cosmopolitans. Then, taking the case of chronic illness, I turn to patients and informal carers, who navigate tensions in their existing and intimate relationships, and where different levels of knowledge, common heuristics, and access to technology influence their practices of care. In discussing the nuances of care cosmopolitans in these contexts, I draw on data collected in Australia and New Zealand over an eight year period (2010–2018).

Author Biography

Tanisha Jowsey

Dr Tanisha Jowsey is a medical and visual anthropologist. She is a Lecturer in medical and health sciences education, Centre for Medical and Health Sciences Education, University of Auckland.




How to Cite

Jowsey, T. (2018). Cosmopolitans in Australian and New Zealand Health Care Systems. Sites: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, 15(2).