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Award for Wits anthropologist for efforts to understand and serve needs of the world’s societies

- Wits University

The Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) has selected Professor Lenore Manderson as the recipient of its 2023 Bronislaw Malinowski Award.

Manderson is a Distinguished Professor of Medical Anthropology and Public Health in the School of Public Health at Wits.

Lenore Manderson is a Distinguished Professor of Medical Anthropology and Public Health is the Wits School of Public Health

The Malinowski Award is presented annually to honour the career achievements of an outstanding social scientist in the application of the social sciences to contemporary issues.

The award recognises an outstanding social scientist for ‘efforts to understand and serve the needs of the world’s societies, and whose career has been devoted to solving human problems using the concepts and tools of social science’.

“I am proud, honoured and humbled to be named recipient of the 2023 Bronislaw Malinowski Award of the Society for Applied Anthropology … am spinning with excitement and ideas. Thank you colleagues and friends,” Manderson said in a tweet.

A National Research Foundation A-rated social scientist, Manderson’s research interest is the complex health problems facing South Africa and Africa. She and a number of postdoctoral fellows are working on Technologies of Equity, Access and Health Outcomes, using a broad definition of technology to explore decisions around health and medical care; public health interventions; the structure of health services, diagnosis and care; and the implications of this in relation to social justice.

Manderson’s current research project in Johannesburg concerns antimicrobial resistance, prescribing practices, and antibiotic use. 

At Wits University in 2018, Manderson conceptualised and executed WATERSHED: Art, Science, Elemental Politics. This research-enmeshed celebration of water, from 10-21 September 2018, included a 10-day interactive display of art installations, engineering and scientific displays, seminars and discussions, highlighting water on the continental divide.

As the Malinowski Award Recipient, Manderson will attend the 83rd Annual Meeting of SfAA in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she will present the annual Malinowski Address on 31 March 2023.

Manderson joins the ranks of her peer and friend, renowned anthropologist Paul Farmer (1959-2022), who co-founded People in Health and who dedicated his life to improving healthcare for the world's poorest people.

The Swedish economist, Gunnar Myrdal, who (with Friedrich von Hayek) was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 1974, is also a Malinowski awardee. Myrdal conducted his first works within economic theory, but later developed broader social analyses. His research has been important in understanding developing countries.