Dominique P. Béhague

Dominique P. Béhague

Associate Professor of Medicine, Health, and Society

Affiliated Associate Professor of Anthropology

Contact Information

Phone: (615) 322-0919
300 Calhoun Hall

Office Hours

Tuesday, 11:30am-1pm


PhD, McGill University

Dominique P. Béhague is Associate Professor of Medicine, Health and Society and affiliated faculty in the Anthropology Department at Vanderbilt University. She received a BA and MA in Social Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College in the US, and a PhD in Anthropology and Social Studies of Medicine from McGill University in Canada (2004). From 2005 to 2010 she was Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), where she is now Honorary Lecturer. In 2009, she completed an Msc in Epidemiology at the LSHTM, funded by the Wellcome Trust, to support both her long-standing engagement with interdisciplinary research and her growing interest in the anthropology of statistical forms of reasoning in global health. Dominique came to Vanderbilt in 2012 after 10 years in the UK where she was Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Anthropology at Brunel University and prior to that, Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Anthropology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Dominique’s long-term ethnographic research in Southern Brazil investigates the concurrent emergence of new forms of community-based psychiatric practice and different typologies of adolescent psychopathology and developmental transformation. A collaborative project with the Department of Social Medicine at the Federal University of Pelotas, this research followed the lives of a core group of 90 young people, participants of an ongoing 1982 Pelotas birth cohort study, from their 15th to their 25th birthdays (1997-2007). She is currently completing a book manuscript based on this research entitled Troubled Teens: Psychiatry and the Shaping of Adolescence in the Wake of Brazil’s New Democracy. A second more recent project studies the politics of evidence-production and use, particularly as it relates to recent epistemic shifts in the global health evidence-based movement.

With grants from the US National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, the World Health Organization, the UK Economic and Social Research Council, and The Wellcome Trust, amongst others, her research has led to over 25 publications, several in prominent journals such as Social Science & MedicineCulture Medicine and Psychiatry,Medical Anthropology QuarterlyThe American Journal of Public Health and The British Medical Journal. Currently, she is developing new proposals to study the relationship between evidence-production and global health advocacy together with colleagues at Vanderbilt, the LSHTM, and the Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine at King’s College London, where she also holds a yearly summer appointment as Senior Lecturer.

  • Anthropology of psychiatry
  • Reproductive health and adolescent mental health in Brazil and the embodiment of conflicting styles of reasoning
  • Politics of epistemic shifts in global health evidence-based movement
Representative Publications

Béhague, DP (2016) “Psychiatry, bioepistemes and the making of adolescence in Southern Brazil.” História, Ciencias, Saúde. Manguinhos v. 23 n. 1, p. 131-153. (Part of Special Issue edited by Ilana Lowy and Emilia Sanabria entitled The biomedicalization of Brazilian bodies: anthropological perspectives).

Storeng, KT, DP Behague (2016) “‘Lives in the Balance’: the Safe Motherhood Initiative and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health” Health Policy and Planning 31 (8): 992-1000.

Béhague, DP and Lézé, S Guest Editors. (2015) “Shaping the modern child: genealogies and ethnographies of developmental science” Social Science and Medicine 143, 249-254. Editorial for Special Issue, “The rise of developmental science: Debates on health and humanity.”

Béhague, DP (2015) “Taking pills for developmental ails in Southern Brazil: The biologization of adolescence?” Social Science and Medicine 143, 320-329.

Béhague DP and KT Storeng (2014) “Reflexive relations: The contested creation of epistemological diversity in the Safe Motherhood Initiative” in ‘Research in International Development: a critical review’ Edited by Laura Camfield and Richard Palmer-Jones. Palgrave. p. 283-308.

Storeng, KT and Béhague, DB (2014) “Playing the “Numbers Game”: Evidence-Based Advocacy for Safe Motherhood and the eclipsing of social justice” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 29 (2) 260-279.

Béhague DP and KT Storeng (2013) “Pragmatic politics and epistemological diversity: the contested and authoritative uses of historical evidence in the Safe Motherhood Initiative.” Evidence and Policy, 9 (1): 65-85 Part of Special Issue edited by Helen Lambert entitled Plural forms of evidence in public health: tolerating epistemological and methodological diversity.

Béhague, DP (2013) “Unconventional Psychiatric Medico-Politicization: The Making and Unmaking of Behavioural Disorders in Pelotas, Brazil” In Troubling Natural Categories: Engaging the Medical Anthropology of Margaret Lock. Naomi Adelson and Pam Wakewich, McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Béhague, DP Gonçalves, H Gigante, D, Kirkwood, BR (2012) “Taming troubled teens: the social production of mental morbidity amongst young mothers in Pelotas, Brazil” Social Science & Medicine 74 (3) 434-443.

Gonçalves, H Souza, A Tavares, S Cruza, D and Béhague, D (2011) “Contraceptive medicalization, fear of infertility and teenage pregnancy in Brazil.” Culture, Health and Sexuality 13(2): 201–215.

Béhague, DP, C Tawiah, M Rosato, T Some, J Morrison. (2009) “Evidence-based policy-making: The implications of globally applicable research for context-specific problem-solving in developing countries” Social Science and Medicine 69(10): 1539- 1546.

Béhague, DP (2009) “Psychiatry and the politicization of youth in Pelotas, Brazil: the equivocal uses of “conduct disorder” and related diagnoses” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 23(4): 455- 482.

Béhague, DP, Gonçalves, H and Victora CG (2008) “Anthropology and Epidemiology: Learning epistemological lessons through a collaborative venture” Ciência & Saúde Coletiva Volume 13, Number 6, September/October: 1701-10. (With three invited commentaries (p.1711-1714) and authors’ responses (p.1715-1717)).

Béhague, DP (2008) “Psychiatry and military conscription: the search for opportunity and institutionalized therapy in Pelotas, Brazil” Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry Jun; 32(2):194-218.

Behague, DB and Storeng, KT (2008) “Collapsing the vertical-horizontal divide in public health: lessons from an ethnographic study of evidence-based policy making in maternal health” American Journal of Public Health Apr; 98(4):644-9. (With letters to the editor and authors’ response in AJPH, Nov; 98(11):1930; author reply 1930-1.)

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