Tuberculosis Is a Threshold: The Making of a Social Disease in Post-Soviet Georgia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In this article I use Margaret Lock's concept of local biology as a standpoint to view tuberculosis as a threshold where distinctions between social and biological aspects of disease are negotiated. I conceptualize tuberculosis as a threshold in two ways: first as a passageway, and second as a space for navigating the limits of tolerance to therapeutics. The article is based on ethnographic research about responses to tuberculosis in post-Soviet Georgia. I focus on how health professionals and patients make claims to social aspects of illness by recuperating historical examples for tuberculosis treatment as a moral commitment to society, and in the context of emergent patient-centered treatment services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-324
Number of pages16
JournalMedical Anthropology: Cross Cultural Studies in Health and Illness
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Many thanks to everyone at the NTP and MSCI in Tbilisi who helped me with my research. The project was supported by a Dissertation Improvement Grant from the Science and Technology Studies Program of the National Science Foundation; the Eurasia Program of the Social Science Research Council, with funds provided by the US Department of State through the Title VIII Program; the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science at the New School for Social Research; and the University of Kentucky. This article greatly benefited from the generous feedback and patience of P. Sean Brotherton and Vinh-Kim Nguyen. Lawrence Cohen’s comments for an earlier conference paper (AAA 2011) helped me think through the notion of the threshold. Finally, I thank Lenore Manderson, Victoria Team, and three anonymous reviewers for their careful and insightful suggestions. I am responsible for any errors.


  • Georgia
  • global health
  • social disease
  • tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology


Dive into the research topics of 'Tuberculosis Is a Threshold: The Making of a Social Disease in Post-Soviet Georgia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this