"The Structure of Pain: The Impacts of Knowledge, Policy, and Religion on Prescription Opioids in Morocco”

AVACGIS Faculty Talk Series with Cortney Hughes Rinker

Wednesday, April 14, 2021 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Zoom Virtual Event

The population in Morocco has started to age at a faster rate than in the past. With an aging population, there is a shift in disease burden from infectious diseases to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), oftentimes incurable and accompanied by incapacitating symptoms, including pain. Human Rights Watch has stated there is an urgent need for a wide-spread expansion of palliative care in Morocco. In this talk, Cortney Rinker will present some of her findings from her ethnographic research thus far in Morocco on palliative care and pain management, with attention to the use of prescription opioids to control pain during chronic and terminal illnesses. She analyzes physical pain and suffering and the use of medication within the socio-political context of Morocco. She interrogates the structure of pain—or how the state, the politicization of care, and bureaucracy impact the ways that people suffer and experience illness, while also examining how pain and suffering intersect with religious beliefs about death, mortality, and sin and exploring how a sense of self is connected to the use of opioids. She hopes to use this presentation to workshop some ideas she has about how to conceptualize and frame this project moving forward based upon data she has collected to date in Rabat and Marrakech.

Cortney Hughes Rinker is the Director of the Global Affairs Program and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at George Mason University. Her latest book, Actively Dying: The Creation of Muslim Identities through End-of-Life Care in the United States, was recently published by Routledge (2021).