Audiovisual productions

Guest Lecture on Social Lives of Medicines, 26th October 2021

Saying that medicines have social lives is a metaphoric way of pointing out that medicines acquire different meanings in the company of different people, or to put it more generally, in different contexts. That metaphor also emphasizes the agency of medicines. Medicines are not only used by people for certain purposes (to produce and sell them and making a profit, to prevent disease, to reduce pain, to get better, to show empathy); in reverse, medicines are also agents that move people to think and act in specific ways. The lecture will highlight various examples of these ‘social lives’ based on our book on social lives of medicines.


Jennifer Thompson & Casey Burkholder
2020 Talking about Fieldnotes with Sjaak van der Geest

"Morning sounds" A film impression of early morning activities in a Ghanaian home. The focus is on the sounds of a sweeping broom, washing of clothes, splashing of water, and a crowing cock, while the people go about their work in silence. (10 minutes) - 2009.


"Sketches of dirt management in Kwahu Tafo, Ghana" This brief compilation of four episodes of dirt management in a Ghanaian rural town shows activities around the public latrine, sweeping in the house, carrying dirt to the town's garbage dump, and the work of the local nightsoil collector who empties buckets with human feces while people are asleep. (12 minutes) - 2009.  

"A gift for barbering" Film portrait of Kwasi Emmanuel Yeboah, a disabled young man who has opened a small barber shop to make a living. (11 minutes) - 2008.


This video is temporarily unavailable due to copyright issues.

“The watch repairer” A film portrait of Edward Asante, a disabled man in Kwahu Tafo. Asante makes his living by reparing watches on the road side. He speaks about his problems and explains that not his legs but lack of money is his greatest handicap. (21 minutes). - 2006.  
2005 - “Fufu.” Film about the preparation of fufu. Fufu is the most popular dish in Southern Ghana. It is made of cassava, plantain and cocoyam, which are first boiled and then pounded into a sticky ball. It is eaten with soup containing vegetables and meat or fish. Since my first visit to Ghana I had been watching the 'tango' of the hand that turned the fufu and the pestle that pounded it. I use the word 'tango' because hand and pestle have to move in perfect harmony. If the hand withdraws a fraction of a second too late it will be smashed together with the fufu. The two partners in the process of fufu preparation understand and trust one another.
(11 minutes) - 2005

2002 - “Oud in Ghana” [“Old in Ghana”] (with Victorine Arnoldus) Exhibition in the Ethnological Museum Gerardus van der Leeuw, Groningen, The Netherlands (18 October – 5 November 2002).

On the basis of ten portraits, it is shown how elderly people in Ghana are treated."Successfully old" means that they are happy despite physical infirmities and that they are respected and cared for by children and grandchildren. See also: Oud in Ghana. Groningen: Volkenkundig Museum Gerardus van der Leeuw. [pdf]

2000 - (with Fieneke Diamand) “Ouderen in Ghana” [“Older people in Ghana”]. Radio documentary. VPRO Radio (Dutch, one hour) [download]    
“Adwoa Mansa” . A film portrait of an older woman in Kwahu Tafo (in preparation).    
“Agya Ko” A film portrait of an elderly shopkeeper in Kwahu Tafo (in preparation).    

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