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Professor Ruth Fitzgerald

ContactRuth Fitzgerald_large

Room 2C19
Tel 64 3 479 8169
Email ruth.fitzgerald@otago.ac.nz

Research Interests

My fields of research can be summarised as follows:

  • anthropology of health and medicine (area specialisation: Aotearoa/New Zealand) with a specific focus on ideologies in health, practises of care, and moral reasoning in health dilemmas, clinical anthropology and oral health.
  • biotechnologies of health with a specific focus on the cultural significance in Aotearoa/New Zealand of genetic testing, moral reasoning and TOP (termination of pregnancy), the cultural worlds of scientists as health workers, the embodied risks of consumption (food scares) and the media constructions and public perceptions of such technologies.
  • qualitative research methods with a specific focus on the ethnographic study of ethnically diverse urban societies, grounded theory, narrative theory, media analysis and embodiment; with longstanding interest and experience in interdisciplinary research collaborations between sciences and humanities.

In overview, my research interests are in the disciplinary subfield of medical anthropology, in which I take a sociocultural approach. My work draws its inspiration from a deep commitment to the study of health and illness in its social and political context.

The range of my research projects and outputs is quite wide as they reflect my central interests of ideologies in health, care, inequalities in health care provision and moral reasoning - topics which are in themselves quite open ended and multifaceted concepts. Thus my work has been both diverse in topic (exploring health policy, health practitioners, problematizing disability, pioneering the social study of the impact of new technologies in New Zealand medicine, media analysis of health debates, lay meanings of oral health etc) as well as methodologically flexible (frequently working in interdisciplinary collaborations and publishing in 'hard' as well as social science journals).

Courses

ANTH210 Translating Culture: Reading Ethnographic Texts
ANTH211 Comtemporary Ethnographic Research
ANTH322 Conceiving Reproduction
ANTH323 Anthropology of Health
ANTH423 Bodies, Technologies and Medicine

Projects

  • 2014, Wenner Gren Foundation, Combined ASAANZ/AAS Conference ‘Cosmopolitan Anthropologies’, (PIs Assoc. Prof Ruth Fitzgerald, Assoc. Prof. Chrystal Jaye, PhD Candidate Molly George) $US 20,000.
  • 2014, UORG, Changing the way we play at school: hearing the children’s voice, (PIs Assoc. Prof. Ruth Fitzgerald, PhD Candidate Molly George, Assoc. Prof Rachael Taylor. $21,359.
  • 2014, Royal Society Conference Grant, Combined ASAANZ/AAS Conference ‘Cosmopolitan Anthropologies’, (PIs Assoc. Prof Ruth Fitzgerald, Assoc. Prof. Chrystal Jaye, PhD Candidate Molly George), $1500.
  • 2012, Ministry of Health, Oral Health Self Care for Low Income Dunedin Adults. $NZ230,000, (PIs Prof Murray Thomson, Dr Ruth Fitzgerald, Prof John Broughton).
  • 2011, Humanities Division Summer Studentship, Nov 2011 – Feb 2012. $NZ5000 (PI)
  • 2011, HDG, Exercising the Right to Choose? Men, Moral Reasoning, Abortions and Care, $NZ6,000 July 2011 – March 2012. (PI)
  • 2010, Marsden, Troubling Choice. Exploring and explaining techniques of moral reasoning for people living at the intersection of reproductive technologies, genetics, and disability, $NZ735,000, Feb 2011 – Feb 2014. (PIs Dr Ruth Fitzgerald, Assoc. Prof. Julie Park, University of Auckland, and Assoc. Prof. Mike Legge, University of Otago).
  • 2010, ORG, Exercising the Right to Choose? Southern Men, Moral Reasoning, Abortions and Care, $NZ10,000, Jan 2011- Jan 2012. (PI)
  • 2009, ORG, Exercising the Right to Choose? Moral decision making by South Island women over pregnancy terminations, $19,271, Jan 2010 – Jan 2011. (PI)
  • 2009, Royal Society of New Zealand, Funding for face to face meeting for international collaborators on the research project, Filial Duty and the Virtuous Saint, $NZ6,500, July 2009- July 2010. (PIs Dr Ruth Fitzgerald, Prof. Charles Nuckolls, BYU, Utah and Assoc. Prof. Mike Legge, University of Otago).
  • 2005, ORG, Conceiving Reproductive Scientists, $NZ50, 861, Jan 2005 – Jan 2007. (PIs Dr Ruth Fitzgerald, Assoc. Prof. Mike Legge, University of Otago).
  • 2004, Quality Improvement Initiatives Fund, Tutorial Group Improvement Initiative, $7,500, (PIs Dr Ruth Fitzgerald, Dr Carol Bond HEDC, Ms Martin and Mr van der Meer OUSA).
  • 2003, ORG The Political Economy of Occupational Overuse Syndrome $NZ26,839 (PIs Dr Chrystal Jaye, Dept of General Practice, Dr Ruth Fitzgerald).
  • 2001, Divisional Research Grant, Nurse Prescribing in Southern Rural New Zealand, $NZ5,000 9.11.01 – 31.12.02. (PI)

Recent Conference Papers and Technical Reports

Bathard H., Broad R., Fitzgerald R.P., Legge M. (2013) Conversations with 3 South Island families about the lived experience of heritable deafness, the meanings of disability and reproductive decision-making. Published by RP Fitzgerald, Dept. Anthropology & Archaeology, University of Otago, 40 pages ISBN 978-0-9922626-0-0 (digital)

Fitzgerald R P, Legge M and N Frank (2012) Custodians of Eggs and Embryos: A Technical Report on the social and ethical meanings of the work of biological scientists working in HART, Published by RP Fitzgerald, University of Otago,16 pages ISBN 978-0-473-21859-1 (print) ISBN 978-0-473-21860-7 (web)

Fitzgerald RP (2009) PGD, The Right to Choose, Disability and the New Zealand Organisation for Rare Disorders (NZORD). Conference Paper Presented at the Society for Medical Anthropology Annual Meeting, Yale University, New Haven, CT. September 24-27, 2009.

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Publications

Wardell, S., & Fitzgerald, R. (2018). Psychometrics as moral labour: Subject formation at the intersection of neoliberal and spiritual discourse. BioSocieties. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1057/s41292-018-0130-3

Fitzgerald, R. P., Wardell, S., & Legge, M. (2018). Fetal genetic difference and a cosmopolitan vernacular of the right to choose. Women's Studies International Forum, 67, 110-117. doi: 10.1016/j.wsif.2017.04.001

Fitzgerald, R. P., & Legge, M. (2017). Ethics for embryologists. In R. M. Shaw (Ed.), Bioethics beyond altruism: Donating and transforming human biological materials. (pp. 141-164). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-55532-4_6

Gibson, B. J., Sussex, P. V., Fitzgerald, R. P., & Thomson, W. M. (2017). Complete tooth loss as status passage. Sociology of Health & Illness, 39(3), 412-427. doi: 10.1111/1467-9566.12492

Farmer, V. L., Fitzgerald, R. P., Williams, S. M., Mann, J. I., Schofield, G., McPhee, J. C., & Taylor, R. W. (2017). What did schools experience from participating in a randomised controlled study (PLAY) that prioritised risk and challenge in active play for children while at school? Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning, 17(3), 239-257. doi: 10.1080/14729679.2017.1286993

Edited Book - Research

Dew, K., & Fitzgerald, R. (Eds.). (2004). Challenging science: Issues for New Zealand society in the 21st Century. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press, 286p.

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Chapter in Book - Research

Fitzgerald, R. P., & Legge, M. (2017). Ethics for embryologists. In R. M. Shaw (Ed.), Bioethics beyond altruism: Donating and transforming human biological materials. (pp. 141-164). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-55532-4_6

Fitzgerald, R. (2012). Occupational therapists, care and managerialism. In L. Robertson (Ed.), Clinical reasoning in occupational therapy: Controversies in practice. (pp. 45-62). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Park, J., & Fitzgerald, R. (2011). Biotechnologies of care. In M. Singer & P. I. Erickson (Eds.), A companion to medical anthropology. (pp. 425-442). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Fitzgerald, R. P. (2011). Biological citizenship in Aotearoa/New Zealand. In J. McLaughlin, P. Phillimore & D. Richardson (Eds.), Contesting Recognition: Culture, identity and citizenship. (pp. 74-94). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Fitzgerald, R., Wylie, J., Crump, R., & Campbell, H. (2004). Margarine regulation: A political economy of risk and safety. In K. Dew & R. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Challenging science: Issues for New Zealand society in the 21st century. (pp. 205-220). Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.

Fitzgerald, R., & Dew, K. (2004). Introduction: The challenges of challenging science. In K. Dew & R. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Challenging science: Issues for New Zealand society in the 21st century. (pp. 9-30). Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.

Dew, K., & Fitzgerald, R. (2004). Concluding comment. In K. Dew & R. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Challenging science: Issues for New Zealand society in the 21st century. (pp. 273-276). Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.

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Journal - Research Article

Wardell, S., & Fitzgerald, R. (2018). Psychometrics as moral labour: Subject formation at the intersection of neoliberal and spiritual discourse. BioSocieties. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1057/s41292-018-0130-3

Fitzgerald, R. P., Wardell, S., & Legge, M. (2018). Fetal genetic difference and a cosmopolitan vernacular of the right to choose. Women's Studies International Forum, 67, 110-117. doi: 10.1016/j.wsif.2017.04.001

Gibson, B. J., Sussex, P. V., Fitzgerald, R. P., & Thomson, W. M. (2017). Complete tooth loss as status passage. Sociology of Health & Illness, 39(3), 412-427. doi: 10.1111/1467-9566.12492

Farmer, V. L., Fitzgerald, R. P., Williams, S. M., Mann, J. I., Schofield, G., McPhee, J. C., & Taylor, R. W. (2017). What did schools experience from participating in a randomised controlled study (PLAY) that prioritised risk and challenge in active play for children while at school? Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning, 17(3), 239-257. doi: 10.1080/14729679.2017.1286993

Fitzgerald, R. (2016). Some contemporary critical cosmopolitanisms and anthropology [Book Review Essay]. Sites, 13(1), 222-237. doi: 10.11157/sites-vol13iss1id343

Nie, J.-B., & Fitzgerald, R. P. (2016). Connecting the East and the West, the local and the universal: The methodological elements of a transcultural approach to bioethics. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 26(3), 219-247. doi: 10.1353/ken.2016.0023

Fitzgerald, R. P., Legge, M., & Park, J. (2015). Choice, rights and virtue: Prenatal testing and styles of moral reasoning in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 29(3), 400-417. doi: 10.1111/maq.12217

Park, J., Fitzgerald, R., & Legge, M. (2015). The predicament of d/Deaf: Towards an anthropology of not-disability. Human Organization, 74(2), 154-163. doi: 10.17730/0018-7259-74.2.154

Fitzgerald, R. P., Thomson, W. M., Huakau, G., Darrou, M., Gilmore, D., Sadler, H., Bell, R. J., Danse, V., … Broughton, J. R. (2015). A qualitative study of the meaning of oral health and self-care for 40 Dunedin residents living on lower incomes. New Zealand Dental Journal, 111(2), 68-75.

Wardell, S., Fitzgerald, R. P., Legge, M., & Clift, K. (2014). A qualitative and quantitative analysis of the New Zealand media portrayal of Down syndrome. Disability & Health Journal, 7(2), 242-250. doi: 10.1016/j.dhjo.2013.11.006

Legge, M., & Fitzgerald, R. (2013). Numerical identity: The creation of tri-parental embryos to correct inherited mitochondrial disease. New Zealand Medical Journal, 126(1385). Retrieved from http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Fitzgerald, R. P., Bathard, H., Broad, R., & Legge, M. (2013). Reproduction, ethics and heritable deafness: Three South Island families express their views. Sites, 10(2), 129-149. doi: 10.11157/sites-vol10iss2id251

Smith-Han, K., Jaye, C., Fitzgerald, R., & Stein, S. (2013). What do medical students learn about general practice in their undergraduate education? Focus on Health Professional Education, 14(3), 78-90.

Fitzgerald, R. P., Legge, M., & Frank, N. (2013). When biological scientists become health-care workers: Emotional labour in embryology. Human Reproduction, 28(5), 1289-1296. doi: 10.1093/humrep/det051

Bell, M., Fitzgerald, R., & Legge, M. (2013). Parent peer advocacy, information and refusing disability discourses. Kōtuitui, 8(1-), 2, 1-12. doi: 10.1080/1177083X.2013.818042

Jaye, C., & Fitzgerald, R. (2012). The embodied liminalities of occupational overuse syndrome. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 26(2), 201-220. doi: 10.1111/j.1548-1387.2012.01201.x

George, M., & Fitzgerald, R. P. (2012). Forty years in Aotearoa New Zealand: White identity, home and later life in an adopted country. Ageing & Society, 32(2), 239-260. doi: 10.1017/S0144686X11000249

Jaye, C., & Fitzgerald, R. (2011). Embodying occupational overuse syndrome. Health, 15(4), 385-400. doi: 10.1177/1363459310376298

Jaye, C., & Fitzgerald, R. (2011). Occupational overuse syndrome: Moral ambiguities of New Zealand health professionals. Qualitative Health Research, 22(6), 1400-1412. doi: 10.1177/1049732311405998

Crump, R. J., Fitzgerald, R. P., & Legge, M. (2010). 'Going-to-have-cancerness': A study of living with increased risk of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations for six South Island women. Journal of Primary Health Care, 2(4), 311-317. doi: 10.1071/HC10311

Hashim, R., Fitzgerald, R. P., Schafer, C. T., & Thomson, W. M. (2010). Mother's understanding of dental-caries-related feeding practices and children's use of dental care in Ajman. Social Science & Dentistry, 1(2), 97-107.

Jaye, C., & Fitzgerald, R. (2010). The lived political economy of occupational overuse syndrome among New Zealand workers. Sociology of Health & Illness, 32(7), 1010-1025. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2010.01259.x

Sussex, P. V., Thomson, W. M., & Fitzgerald, R. P. (2010). Understanding the 'epidemic' of complete tooth loss among older New Zealanders. Gerodontology, 27(2), 85-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-2358.2009.00306.x

Robertson, L., & Fitzgerald, R. (2010). The conceptualisation of residential home environments: Implications for occupational therapy. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 73(4), 170-177. doi: 10.4276/030802210X12706313443983

Oxley, R., & Fitzgerald, R. (2010). Postpartum depression and the chaos of moral parenting. Sites, 7(1), 78-100.

Fitzgerald, R. (2008). Biological citizenship at the periphery: Parenting children with genetic disorders. New Genetics & Society, 27(3), 251-266. doi: 10.1080/14636770802326927

Fitzgerald, R. P. (2008). Rural Nurse Specialists: Clinical practice and the politics of care. Medical Anthropology, 27(3), 257-282. doi: 10.1080/01459740802222757

Legge, M., & Fitzgerald, R. (2007). Risky knowledges: The sociocultural impacts of personal genetics in a knowledge-driven economy. New Zealand Medical Journal, 120(1262). Retrieved from http://journal.nzma.org.nz/journal/120-1262/2736/content.pdf

Frank, N., Fitzgerald, R., & Legge, M. (2007). Phenylketonuria: The lived experience. New Zealand Medical Journal, 120(1262). Retrieved from http://journal.nzma.org.nz/journal/120-1262/2728/content.pdf

Legge, M., Fitzgerald, R., & Frank, N. (2007). A retrospective study of New Zealand case law involving assisted reproduction technology and the social recognition of 'new' family. Human Reproduction, 22(1), 17-25.

Frank, N., Fitzgerald, R., & Legge, M. (2007). Negotiating PKU: Insights from New Zealand. Sites, 4(1), 161-189.

Fitzgerald, R., & Robertson, L. (2006). Inhabiting the places and non-places of a residential home: A case study from New Zealand. Sites, 3(1), 48-71.

Fitzgerald, R. P., Thomson, W. M., Schafer, C. T., & Loose, M. A. T. H. (2004). An exploratory qualitative study of Otago adolescents' views of oral health and oral health care. New Zealand Dental Journal, 100(3), 62-71.

Finlay, S., Fitzgerald, R., & Legge, M. (2004). Cytogeneticists' stories around the ethics and social consequences of their work: A New Zealand case study. New Zealand Bioethics Journal, June, 13-24.

Fitzgerald, R. (2004). The New Zealand health reforms: Dividing the labour of care. Social Science & Medicine, 58, 331-341.

Fitzgerald, R., & Park, J. (2003). Introduction: Issues in the practice of medical anthropology in the Antipodes. Sites, 1(1), 1-29.

Fitzgerald, R., Campbell, H. R., & Sivak, S. (2001). Content analysis of bias in international print media coverage of GM food. Rural Society, 11(3), 181-196.

Campbell, H. R., & Fitzgerald, R. (2001). Follow the fear: A multisited approach to GM. Rural Society, 11(3), 211-224.

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Journal - Research Other

Legge, M., & Fitzgerald, R. (2017). Deciding by numbers: The genesis of prenatal serum screening cut-off limits for down syndrome and neural tube defects. New Zealand Journal of Medical Laboratory Science, 71(3), 107-112. [Review].

Legge, M., & Fitzgerald, R. (2016). Valuing embryos as both commodities and singularities. New Zealand Medical Journal, 129(1431), 80-84. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

George, M., Fitzgerald, R. P., & Jaye, C. (2016). Peripheral cosmopolitanisms, an introduction. Sites, 13(1), 1-12. [Editorial].

Nie, J.-B., & Fitzgerald, R. (2016). Editorial note [Guest editorial]. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 26(3), ix-xiii. doi: 10.1353/ken.2016.0021

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