Based on five years of research in the field (including berry-picking and traveling with migrants back and forth from Oaxaca up the West Coast), this paper (and new book by the same name) explores how market forces, anti-immigrant sentiment, and racism undermine health and health care. The paper examines structural and symbolic violence, medicalization, and the clinical gaze as they affect the experiences and perceptions of a vertical slice of indigenous Mexican migrant farmworkers, farm owners, doctors, and nurses. This work analyzes the ways in which socially structured suffering comes to be perceived as normal and natural in society and in health care, especially through imputations of ethnic body difference.
Dr. Seth M. Holmes is a cultural anthropologist and physician whose work focuses broadly on social hierarchies, health inequalities, and the ways in which such inequalities are naturalized and normalized in society and in health care. Holmes is Martin Sisters Endowed Chair Assistant Professor in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and the Graduate Program in Medical Anthropology. He is Co-Director of the MD/PhD Track in Medical Anthropology coordinated between UCSF and UC Berkeley and Director of the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine.