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Ángel Martínez Hernáez

ICREA Acadèmia 2020

Universitat Rovira i Virgili · Humanities

Ángel Martínez Hernáez

Distinguished Professor and Head of the Medical Anthropology Research Centre (MARC) at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili. I received my PhD from the Universitat de Barcelona with a thesis that was later published (2000) by Routledge with a foreword by Arthur Kleinman (Harvard University). I have been visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley, the Universitá degli Studi di Perugia, and the University of California San Diego (Fulbright), among others. Since 2017 I am an international affiliate at the Center for Global Mental Health (UC San Diego). I am the author or co-author of more than 30 books and reports and 120 book chapters and articles in main journals such as American Anthropologist, Social Science & Medicine, Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, BMJ Global Health, and Medical Anthropology. I have served as an expert and evaluator for a variety of institutions, such as the World Health Organization and the European Commission's Framework Programmes.

Research interests

I am a medical anthropologist working in global mental health and social participation in health. My early work developed a model for the hermeneutic analysis of illness narratives. Later, I have worked on the intersection of illness narratives, local worlds, and health policies in Catalonia and Brazil, as well as on the therapeutic itineraries of young adolescents with emotional distress. My most recent interests are on “structural competency” and on “healthcare cultures”; the latter being understood as the intangible aspects manifested in patterns of care, such as values and representations. Healthcare cultures can be analysed in terms of how receptive they are to narratives of suffering (patients, users) and community and individual self-care actions. My purpose is to build a theory of healthcare cultures that can also be applied to the analysis, evaluation and design of health policies and global health initiatives.


Medical Anthropology; Social and Cultural Studies of Biomedicine; Global Mental Health; Psychological Anthropology; Anthropological Theory; Urban Brazil; Indigenous Ontologies (Amazonian Cultures); Mental Health Policies in Europe and Latin America.

ICREA Memoir 2023