Peiling Zhou

  • Ph.D.

  • Email: zhoupeil@msu.edu
  • Geography Building
    673 Auditorium Rd, Room 116
    East Lansing, MI 48824
  • Areas of interest: Health/medical geography, cultural landscapes, urban issues in China
Ph.D.

Research Synopsis:

grad_Zhou research bio1One of the realizations prompt my study is the fantastic knowledge and intelligence in practices of everyday life. This concern has led my study to be involved with everyday life, workplaces, neighbourhoods, spatial interaction, practical reasoning, conversation, gestures, video. I would expect to continue my research on nature of everyday life within spatial practice and response to theory.

Another motivation of my study is my personal experience in contemporary China. Rapid development generates distinct life world and thus leading to distinguishing self-identity and irreconcilable conflicts, even though sometimes the misunderstanding is probably between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Although large amount of research focusing on collective behaviours, little concern has been given to the question of what is the nature of peaceful everyday practice. I firmly believe that an in-depth investigation on everyday practice in contingent localised circumstances might be an appropriate approach to understand a real society in China. My work on these topics builds heavily on cultural landscapes approach and also with roots of genealogy and space/power theories of Michel Foucault, Michel de Certeau, ethnomethodological approaches taken by Harold Garfinkel, and actor network theory of Bruno Latour.

With my natural bent to spatial practice, I will focus on physician-patient interactions in daily medical settings in China. According to the data from the Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China (MHPRC) in 2010, 98.47% of hospitals have had medical disputes with an average of 40 incidents at each hospital each year. The reported reasons for these conflicts are largely unknown but appear to be associated with a growing lack of trust in physicians working in hospitals. As patients become more dissatisfied physicians are losing their perceived authority in medical practice and patients are reluctant to attend hospitals. The cause of the instability and damage to the therapeutic functions of hospitals around the country is an important area of research that is in need of investigation. For my dissertation project, I will conduct participant observations in everyday practice in hospitals, “live with and live like” the medical actors in my field, “learn” actors’ strategies and tactics of power maintenance, and see how harmonious therapeutic processes are generated, maintained and broken.