Jonas Kure Buer

Postdoctoral Fellow - Department of Social Anthropology
Image of Jonas Kure Buer
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47 22858262
Room 710
Visiting address Gullhaug torg 1 0484 Oslo
Postal address Postboks 1091 Blindern 0317 Oslo

I am a social and medical anthropologist who received my PhD from the University of Oslo in 2017. I also hold an MA in social anthropology and a BA in culture studies (Japanese), and a professional diploma in contemporary dance. I have conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Norway and Japan.

Academic Interests

My research interests include medical knowledge, pharmaceuticals and diseases, with a particular focus in rheumatology, inflammatory joint diseases, and anti-rheumatic pharmaceuticals. I also entertain an interest in colon cancer screening, more precisely in the making of a national CRC screening program in Norway.

Follow me on Twitter:


Chronic knowledge

My postdoctoral project Chronic knowledge is a study of rheumatological knowledge about diseases and medication, and of the participation of rheumatic patients in this knowledge.

It aims at identifying and describing mechanisms and processes through which people come to know pharmaceuticals -- in particular so-called "biologic" antibody-based medicines and the cytotoxin methotrexate -- as efficacious and safe.

By combining anthropological perspectives on knowledge, pharmaceuticals and hospital cultures, the plan is to formulate a patient-centered theory of pharmaceutical knowledge making, adaption and reproduction in concrete situations where patients, health workers and others interact, and to describe how social factors influence the shaping of such knowledge and influence the possibility of patients to participate in knowledge and decisions about their own disease and treatment.

The project is funded by Stiftelsen Dam in cooperation with the patient organization Norsk Revmatikerforbund, and will be running 2019-2022.

Rheumatologies in the making

My PhD project Rheumatologies in the making was a study of medical knowledge creation in encounters between patients and health workers in a Norwegian hospital ward. I adopted an approach to communication as a cooperative and competitive process of world-making. Drawing inspiration from Fredrik Barth’s work among the Mountain Ok of New Guinea, I took the individual exercise of creativity as my point of departure, and investigated how meaning was made and remade in the encounters of differently positioned persons at the ward and beyond, at a time when rheumatological knowledge was undergoing rapid change. Beyond this primary concern with meaning and interaction, my dissertation also shed light on several phenomena in the penumbra of which the encounters took place. One such phenomenon is the wave of health services reforms implemented in the decade preceding my fieldwork. A second one is the transformation of rheumatology during that same period from a subspecialty whose proponents continuously fought for resources and attention, to one occupied with applying a line of major block buster drugs, thus generating capital flows of previously unimaginable proportions.

Kropp og makt i en japansk studentaikidoklubb

My MA project was on the role of bodily practices in the making of hierarchy in a Japanese students martial arts club.



Tags: Medical anthropology, rheumatology, pharmaceuticals, hospital ethnography, knowledge, cancer, screening


Buer, J. K. (2017). To stop the erosion of hope: the DMARD category and the place of semantics in modern rheumatology. Inflammopharmacology, 25(2), 185-190. doi:10.1007/s10787-017-0320-9

Buer, J. K. (2017). Rheumatologies in the making : an ethnography of meaning and interaction in a Norwegian hospital ward. (PhD). University of Oslo, Oslo.

View all works in Cristin

  • Buer, Jonas Kure (2016). Når medisinen blir din fiende. Aftenposten Viten. ISSN 2464-3033.

View all works in Cristin

Published June 24, 2010 1:22 PM - Last modified Mar. 3, 2021 4:06 PM