Lauraine Margaret Helen Vivian

Lauraine Margaret Helen Vivian

External Researcher

Dr Lauraine Margaret Helen Vivian
Medical Anthropologist

My research focuses on the engendering of manhood through circumcision practices amongst the amaXhosa. I am currently revising my monograph for publication with Routledge Publishing, London, UK. In this I take forward the extensive field work I carried out from 2000 – 2011 on amaXhosa circumcision in the Cape Provinces, South Africa. This culminated in my doctoral work on psychiatric disorder in amaXhosa men following circumcision. In 2012, under supervision from Professors Margrethe Silberschmidt and Birgit Petersson at the University of Copenhagen, I shifted my focus from investigating the link between psychiatric disorder and circumcision to understanding the practice in respect of engendering manhood. Whilst in Denmark, I presented my work in diverse forums and engaged in the current academic debate on the banning of circumcision in neonates. Professor Dan Wolf Meyrowitsch, Avin Khalil and I are currently writing an article on Ms Khalil’s work on circumcision amongst Islamic communities in Denmark.

My second area of research qualitatively follows-up children who had cardiac surgery in Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Cape Town and in Sydney, Australia. It is called Operation BraveHeart and can be viewed at The research is carried out by a small team of cardiologists, a general practitioner and medical anthropologists. We aim to collect narratives of children and their families’ experiences of these procedures and how they cope on their return home. We have published one article and have a second completed for submission. This is exciting research which we believe should be pursued as a global initiative. With collaborative partnerships we hope to establish another site in Greenland.

I trained as a Medical Anthropologist in Britain and have spent the past two decades in South Africa transforming medical education post-apartheid in the field of Primary Health Care. My research has followed these fields and topics include; Primary Health Care, Psychiatry and Mental Health Care, amaXhosa Circumcision, Pathways into Intensive Care for Children, Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, Medical Education, Electrohypersensitivity and HIV. I am seeking partnerships and funding to extend my research, publish and supervise post-graduate students working in the field of Medical Humanities. As a medical anthropologist I am committed to teaching and organizing seminars in medical education and the humanities. This will reflect on my publications in this arena but especially my innovative work in developing a health sciences curriculum for culture in medicine at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

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