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Department of Social Anthropology



I graduated from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile with a BA (Hons) in Sociology and completed an MSc in Medical Anthropology (2014) and a PhD in Anthropology (2018) from University College London. 

Since joining the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in 2018, I have taught a range of lectures and seminars on the Anthropologies of Medicine; Gender Kinship and Care; and Science and Society; have co-organised multidisciplinary academic events and have been the co-investigator in a series of research grants. I am currently the lead on the "REPRESENT: A Community Engagement Roadmap to Improve Participant Representation in Cancer Research Early Detection" ACED pilot. I am also a Research Fellow at Robinson College, Cambridge.


-        International Alliance for the Early Detection of Cancer (2021-2022). Administrative lead and Principal investigator together with Prof. Shannon (OHSU), Prof. Pashayan (UCL), and Dr Starling (MFT)  on the grant: “REPRESENT: A Community Engagement Roadmap to Improve Participant Representation in Cancer Research Early Detection.”

-        Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge (2020-2021): Co-convenor of the research network Health Medicine Agency.

-        Cancer Research UK (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".

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


My scholarship engages with techno-scientific practices in cancer research and care in the UK. I look at the development and implementation of cancer technologies, such as molecular diagnostic devices, genomic risk-stratification algorithms, body-changing surgical techniques, chemotherapeutic agents and immunotherapies. I analyse the practices and temporalities that structure these domains as well as the myriad subjectivities and social effects that emerge as a result. Conceptually, I am interested in the potential of techno-scientific practices for bringing about new ontological realities that redefine cancer disease categories and lived experiences vis-à-vis notions of ‘engagement’ and ‘progress’ through which British residents are persuaded to take part in biomedical developments. 

My research has been funded by the Chilean National Agency for Research and Development, the Chilean Research Security Fund, the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness, Cancer Research UK, the Philomathia Foundation, and the Alliance for the Early Detection of Cancer.

I am currently working on ANTHCED: An Anthropological study of the Early Detection of Cancer. This is an ethnographic research within a broad field that concerns the development of detection technologies through to their clinical use and social effects in the UK. Through detailed observations, sensitive conversations and careful participation, I trace the practices and experiences of ‘biomedical innovation’ in cancer detection that are articulated by scientists, engineers, clinicians, patients, biomedical research subjects and their support networks.  For more information about the study and incoming speaking engagements about the subject, please visit the project website:



Arteaga, I. (2021) Game-changing? Promise and efficacy of novel cancer treatments. Medical Anthropology: Cross-cultural Studies of Health and Illness. DOI: 10.1080/01459740.2020.1860960

Greco C & Arteaga I, et al. (2020). Cancer, COVID-19, and the need for critique. Wellcome Open Research 5:280 (

Arteaga, I.  (2020) Emotion work in colorectal cancer treatments. Medical Anthropology: Cross-cultural Studies of Health and Illness. DOI: 10.1080/01459740.2020.1808976

Arteaga, I. (2019) From attitudes to materialities: Understanding bowel control for colorectal cancer patients in London. Medical Materialities. Parkhurst, A. and Carrol, T. (Eds.) London: Routledge.

Risør, I. & Arteaga, I. (2018) Disjunctive belongings and the utopia of intimacy: violence, love and friendship among poor urban youth in neoliberal Chile, Identities, 25:2, 228 -244, DOI: 10.1080/1070289X.2017.1400278


Arteaga, I. Learning to see cancer in an early detection researc. Medicine Anthropology Theory. Special issue ‘Medical Testing, Diagnosis and Value’ edited by A. Street, A. Kelly and M. Taylor.

Robinson, K. & I. Arteaga. ‘Hard-to-Reach’? Meanings at the Margins of Care and Risk in Cancer Research. In Bennet, L., Manderson, L., Spagnoletti, B. (Eds) Cancer Ethnographies: Inequalities, Embodiments and Interventions in Global Perspective. London: UCL Press.  Expected: late 2021.

Lemos-Dekker, N., van Dam, A., Arteaga, I., Llewellyn, H., Karathanasis, P., Bryant, R. Navigating chronic crisis. In M. Boletsi, N. Lemos-Dekker, K. Mika, K. Robbe (Eds.) Untimely Crises: Chronotopes and Critique. London, New York and Shanghai: Palgrave Macmillan.

Book Reviews:

Cancer Biomarkers: Ethics, Economics, and Society, edited by Blanchard, A. and Strand, R. Journal for the Sociology of Health &Illness 41 (6): 1207-1208

Metrics: What counts as Global Health, edited by Adams, V. Medicine Anthropology Theory 5 (4): 121–124.

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


Online publications:

Greco C, & Arteaga I. (2021). The need for multiple perspectives: looking at cancer care beyond the clinical lens. Available at: 

Arteaga, I. & Risør, H. (2021).The Fishtail model: Utopia, overdetermination and ethnographic writing in Chile. Available at:

Arteaga, I., Robinson, K. Macdonald, M. (2020) How to Track and Trace: Look for the super-locals. BMJ Opinion. Available at:

Arteaga, I., Greco, C., Llewellyn, H., Ross, E. & Swallow, J. (2019) (Dis)continuities in cancer care: An ethnographic approximation to practices of disease stratification. Somatosphere: Science, Medicine and Anthropology. Available at:

Teaching and Supervisions


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