Medical travel/tourism and the city

M.E. Ormond, Heidi Kaspar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Transnational medical travel/tourism, by and large, involves travel to cities and metropolitan areas. Only urban areas possess the sufficient volume and variety of world-class medical expertise, cutting-edge technology, transportation infrastructure, communication and mediation facilities and hospitality services and infrastructure to be able to emerge as transnational medical travel destinations. Yet how cities and transnational flows of patients, standards and capital interact to generate new urban assemblages and new assemblages of health care is a story that has yet to really be told. While research on transnational medical travel/tourism is becoming more nuanced, involving a broader variety of perspectives, actors and medical mobilities, any attention given thus far to urban areas has been largely implicit and, thus, conceptually under-explored and -utilised. In this chapter, we argue for a relational approach on the urban as well as on transnational health care. Our focus was on how elements become mobile, circulate and assemble to form medical travel/tourism and how this assembling entangles with the elements and relations that constitute the urban. The presented cases show that networks are fluid and constantly being made, as elements entangle and disentangle and, through relational processes of dissociation and re-association, themselves transform. Through the assembling of medical travel/tourism, hospitals’ incomes can rise and their interiors can be ‘internationalised’; neighbours and hotels can learn to accommodate the presence of ‘sick’ bodies; patients can become health consumers and, perhaps, evangelise the benefits of travelling abroad for medical purposes; penniless refugees and wealthy doctors alike can become care brokers; and, last but not least, hopeless, ignored ‘medical cases’ at home can become hopeful, desired customers abroad.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Urban Health
EditorsI. Vojnovic, G. Asiki, G. DeVerteuil, A. Allen
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781315465456
ISBN (Print)9781138206250
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2019


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