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Conversionary SitesTransforming Medical Aid and Global Christianity from Madagascar to Minnesota$
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Britt Halvorson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226557120

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226557434.001.0001

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Restructuring Value in Antananarivo

Restructuring Value in Antananarivo

(p.136) Chapter Four Restructuring Value in Antananarivo
Conversionary Sites

Britt Halvorson

University of Chicago Press

This chapter traces the medical materials from the U.S. agencies to their arrival in Antananarivo in the Malagasy Lutheran health department or SALFA. Operated mainly by church elites, SALFA is a nationally-run and nationalist aid entity, emerging from the malgachisation of church institutions in Madagascar that paralleled the broader wave of African nationalisms sweeping the continent in the 1970s. Drawing upon ethnographic research in SALFA headquarters in Antananarivo, the chapter describes how SALFA administrators nurture and seek forms of spiritual and material benefit from a range of religious and professional networks in which SALFA itself is situated, such as the fifohazana, their paid employment, ties to foreign NGOs and public/private medical aid partnerships. The chapter views Malagasy acceptance of heterogeneous medical discards from the U.S. NGOs as an act of value generation itself, an actively chosen move by SALFA administrators to create ties irrespective of each castoff’s individual value. Appreciating how SALFA workers restructure the value of medical waste in Antananarivo opens up a space of Malagasy critique of the discard trade, found in a refusal to place primary value in the heterogeneous materials themselves.

Keywords:   Value conversions, Waste economies, Health care, Global medicine, African Christianities, Interdependency, Faith based aid, Cosmopolitanism

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