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Department of Social Anthropology




 I am an anthropologist from Rome, Italy. My doctoral research, entitled Tinkering with Food and Family: Striving for Good Care in an Eating Disorder Treatment Centre in Italy, was based on fourteen months of fieldwork among patients, healthcare professionals and family carers inside and outside the residential, semi-residential and outpatient facilities of an Italian eating disorder treatment centre, in 2018-2019. 

Before my PhD, I graduated with First Class Honours in Anthropology and Development Studies at the University of Sussex, and then completed a Master of Science in Medical Anthropology with Distinction at University College London. There I obtained the Mary Douglas Award for my academic achievements, and a Travel Research Bursary for my dissertation project. An article based on the MSc dissertation was published as part of the Special Issue ‘Caring Cultures/Cultures of Care’ in the Irish Journal of Anthropology. Between the end of my Master and the beginning of my PhD I worked as a research assistant in Italy on several projects related to health services. In 2015 I obtained a research bursary at the Management and Health Research Lab of the School of Advanced Studies Sant’Anna in Pisa. For this post I worked in an interdisciplinary team with economists and sociologists, conducting qualitative research on the efficacy of the Chronic Care Model (CCM) for Diabetes Self-Management – a project funded by the Italian Ministry of Health and conducted in partnership with the Stanford Patient Education Research Centre. 



 eating disorders; mental health; bodies and selves; kinship; care; ethics; medical anthropology; anthropologies of science and biomedicine; psychological anthropology; Europe, Italy. 

My research to date sits at the intersection between anthropologies of science and biomedicine, and anthropologies of ethics, care and kinship – as it examines practices of care in an Italian public treatment centre for people diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Drawing on patient-focused anthropological accounts of eating disorders as ‘technologies of the self’, and on existing ethnographic works that have highlighted the failures of eating disorder treatment in other countries, my thesis makes a case for a study of treatment that goes beyond a binary conception of success or failure. By focusing on the professionals of a treatment team, and examining the difficult care work that they do as they encounter patients and their families, I highlight the grey areas between failure and success – and suggest how, when difficulties arise and things seem to be failing, novel forms of care emerge as team members try other ways to make their interventions work. 



Kumah, E., Sciolli, G., Toraldo, M.L, Murante, A.M., (2018). ‘Diabetes self-management educational programs and their integration in the usual care: A systematic literature review’, Health Policy, 122(8):866-877.

2016. “Between ‘Force’ and ‘Choice’: Practices of (Good) Care in Eating Disorders Treatment”, Irish Journal of Anthropology, 19(1):91-99.

2015. ‘I Disturbi del Comportamento Alimentare: Identità, Corpo e Cultura’ Corrente Rosa, 17 March. 

2013. “The Poetics of History: Illness Narratives and the Rhetoric of Contrast” Student Anthropologist, the Journal of the Anthropology Students Association of UBC, 2(1):51-58.


 Conference papers: 

2021. ‘Unruly care: Breaking rules for care in an eating disorder treatment centre in Italy’. Paper presented at the Société Internationale d´Ethnologie et de Folklore (SIEF) 15th congress, University of Helsinki, Finland. Panel: Care as act of transgression. 

Teaching Associate
 Giulia  Sciolli (2017)

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