Professor with special responsibilities
Department of Anthropology
Øster Farimagsgade 5, Opgang E, København K, 16 Øster Farimagsgade 5, Building: 16-0-10
Primary fields of research
Member of the researcher groups "Health and Life Conditions" and "Techne".
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The Making of Quality of Life - More people than ever before are living with disease. Funded by the European Research Council (ERC-2014-STG-639275), the VITAL project (2015-2021) empirically investigated and analysed the making of ‘quality of life’ through five concrete ethnographic studies of: genetic counselling, patient education programmes, clinical trials and patient associations. VITAL studies have focused on how knowledge about living with disease is assembled and mobilised, on the one hand, and how chronic living is negotiated and practiced on the other.
- Lau, SR., Svensson, MK., Kingod, N. & Wahlberg, A. (2021). Carescapes unsettled: COVID-19 and the reworking of ‘stable illnesses’ in welfare state Denmark. In Manderson, L., Burke, N. & Wahlberg, A. (Eds). 2021. Viral Loads: Anthropologies of urgency in the time of COVID-19. London: UCL Press [open access]
- Heinsen, L. L., Wahlberg, A., & Petersen, H. V. (2021). 'Surveillance life and the shaping of ‘genetically at risk’chronicities in Denmark', Anthropology & Medicine, DOI: 10.1080/13648470.2021.1893654 [download]
- Svensson, M, Gislasson, G & Wahlberg, A 2019. 'Chronic Paradoxes: A Systematic Review of Qualitative Family Perspectives on Living with Congenital Heart Defects'. Qualitative Health Research, https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732319869909
- Wahlberg, A 2017. 'The Vitality of Disease'. in M Meloni, J Cromby, D Fitzgerald & S Lloyd (eds), Handbook of Biology and Society. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 727-748. [Download]
- Wahlberg, A. & Rose, N.2015.'The governmentalization of living: Calculating global health'. Economy and Society, 44(1): 60-90 [Download]
- Wahlberg, A.2009.'Serious Disease as Kinds of Living'. In S Bauer & A Wahlberg (eds), Contested Categories: Life Sciences in Society. Ashgate, Burlington, pp. 89-112. [Download]
Selective reproduction - Over the last decades, selective reproductive technologies (SRTs) have come to be routinised throughout the world. Such technologies are used to prevent or promote the birth of certain 'kinds of children' (e.g. a child with a 'serious disease', a healthy child, a boy) through the selective fertilisation of gametes, implantation of embryos or abortion of foetuses. Funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research (grant no. 10–094341), over a 7 year period (2007-2014) I carried out episodic fieldwork at China's (and the world's) largest fertility clinic and sperm bank. Listen to an interview here.
- Wahlberg, A., Dong, D., Song, P. & Zhu, J. (2021). The platforming of human embryo editing: prospecting “disease free” futures, New Genetics and Society, DOI: 10.1080/14636778.2021.1997578
- Wahlberg, A. (2020). Perfecting or selecting? When ‘kinds of children’are the objective. Journal of Marketing Management, 1-5.
- Wahlberg, A. 2018. "Exposed Biologies - and the Banking of Reproductive Vitality in China", Science, Technology & Society, 23(2): 307-23. [Download]
- Wahlberg, A. 2018. Good Quality - the Routinization of Sperm Banking in China, Berkley: University of California Press
- Wahlberg, A. & Gammeltoft, T. 2017. Selective Reproduction in the 21st Century, London: Palgrave Macmillan. [Download Introduction]
- Wahlberg, A.2016. 'The birth and routinization of IVF in China', Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online, 2: 97-107
- Gammeltoft, T. & Wahlberg, A.2014.'Selective Reproductive Technologies'. Annual Review of Anthropology 43: 201-216 [Download]
- Wahlberg, A.2008.'Reproductive medicine and the concept of "quality"'. Clinical Ethics 3(4):189-93 [Download]
Traditional and Alternative Medicine (TM/CAM) - My PhD – Modernisation and Its Side Effects – was a comparative examination of the cotemporaneous revivals of traditional herbal medicine in Vietnam and the United Kingdom since the mid-20th century. I show how herbal medicine came to be mobilised in very different ways in the two national contexts, albeit within frameworks of modernisation/colonisation critique. Listen to an interview here.
- Monnais, Laurence, C. Michele Thompson & Ayo Wahlberg (eds). 2012. Southern Medicine for Southern People: Vietnamese Medicine in the Making, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing [Download Introduction]
- Wahlberg, A. 2010.'Rescuing folk remedies – ethno-knowledge and the re-invention of indigenous herbal medicine in Britain'. In Moore, R. & McClean, S. (eds) Folk Healing And Health Care Practices In The British Isles: Stethoscopes, Wands and Crystals, Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 130-155 [Download]
- Wahlberg, A. 2008.'Above and beyond superstition – western herbal medicine and the decriminalising of placebo'. History of the Human Sciences, 21(1): 77-101 [Download]
- Wahlberg, A. 2008. "Pathways to plausibility: when herbs become pills". BioSocieties 3(1): 37-56 [Download]
- Wahlberg, A. 2007. A quackery with a difference: new medical pluralism and the problem of 'dangerous practitioners' in the United Kingdom. Social Science & Medicine, 65(11): 2307-16 [Download]
- Wahlberg, A.2006.'Bio-politics and the promotion of traditional herbal medicine in Vietnam'. health: an Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, 10(2): 123-47 [Download]
In December 2014 I received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council for a five-year project entitled “The Vitality of Disease - Quality of Life in the Making".
My teaching is currently focused on the anthropology of global health, global development and theory of science. I always work to ensure that my own research from Asia and Europe is integrated into my teaching, while at the same time also promoting teaching-based research through class projects and collective problem formulations in the courses I teach.
I currently supervise in the following thematics/areas:
China, Vietnam, United Kingdom, Denmark, medical anthropology, anthropology of science, science and technology studies, traditional medicine, alternative medicine, reproductive technologies, quality of life, life and biological/biomedical research, clinical trials, vitality, ethics of human subjects research, the social study of (bio)medicine