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Department of Social Anthropology



Ignacia Arteaga graduated from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile with a BA (Hons) in Sociology. She holds an MSc in Medical Anthropology (2014) and a PhD in Anthropology (2018) from University College London. Her main research interest is the practices, possibilities and limits of caregiving in different contexts. Over the last eight years, she has looked at experiences of ageing, youth, disability and life-threatening medical conditions in Chile and the UK. Her forthcoming book “Getting on: Living with colorectal cancer in London” is based on her doctoral dissertation. It examines an ethical mode of experience through which many people affected by cancer navigate the requirements, side effects and consequences of treatments in their everyday lives.

In 2018, Ignacia was appointed teaching associate and affiliated lecturer in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.  Since joining the Department, Ignacia has taught a range of seminars in Medical Anthropology, has co-organised a multidisciplinary workshop on cancer stratification practices, and has been the co-investigator of a CRUK pump-priming grant exploring experiences of risk and cancer among disadvantaged communities in Cambridgeshire.

Ignacia currently holds a postdoctoral position at the University of Cambridge.  This new research is funded by the Philomathia Foundation, focusing on the early detection of cancer in the UK. This entails ethnographic research within a broad field that concerns tracking diagnostic technologies from development through to clinical use and social effects.

Ignacia is a Research Fellow in Robinson College.

Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness (Nov. 2018). Lead applicant in workshop grant: "Ethnographies of disease stratification: Understanding novel clinical practices in cancer care".

Cancer Research UK (March 2019). Co-applicant, with Dr Maryon McDonald, in pump-priming research grant: "Elusive Risks: Engaging with hard-to-reach and non-interested publics in the community".



Ignacia’s research interests include anthropology of biomedicine, anthropology of care, multi-species ethnography and the embodiment of social inequalities.



Key publications: 

2019. Arteaga, I., Greco, C., Llewellyn, H., Ross, E. & Swallow, J. (Dis)continuities in cancer care: An ethnographic approximation to practices of disease stratification. Somatosphere. Retrieved July 30, 2019, from:

2019. Arteaga, I. [Review of book Cancer Biomarkers: Ethics, Economics, and Society, edited by Blanchard, A. and Strand, R.] Journal for the Sociology of Health & Illness. Available at

2018:  From attitudes to materialities: Understanding bowel control for colorectal cancer patients in LondonMedical Materialities, edited by Parkhurst, A. and Carrol, T. London: Routledge.

2018:  Book Review: Metrics: What counts as Global Health, edited by Adams, V.] Medicine Anthropology Theory.

2017:  Risor, H and I. Arteaga. Disjunctive Belongings and the Utopia of Intimacy: Violence, Love and Friendship among poor urban youth in neoliberal ChileIdentities: Global Studies in Culture and Power [Special Issue Youth, Subjectivity and Utopia – Ethnographic Perspectives from the Global South]

2017:  Book Review: An anthropology of lying: Information in the doctor-patient relationship, by Fainzang, S.] Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 23 (2), 426-427.

(Under review) Arteaga, I. Getting on: Emotion work in cancer care. Medical Anthropology Journal.

(In preparation) Arteaga, I. Gibbon, S., Lanceley (Eds) Special issue `Transformations in cancer care: Values, limits, subjectivities’.

Teaching and Supervisions


Health, Medicine & Society (HMS) MPhil: Anthropologies of cancer

Affiliated Lecturer
Philomathia Post-Doctoral Research Associate
Office hours: appointment by email
Dr Ignacia  Arteaga

Contact Details