Dr Christopher Chapman

christopher chapman

Postdoctoral Affiliate

I am a sociocultural and medical anthropologist with complementary training in sociology and social work. My research explores the intersections of care, personhood, and structural inequality, focusing on the mediation of authoritative knowledge and local ways in which people manage their well-being. I also have interests in research design and ethnographic writing, prioritizing questions of power, responsibility, and equity.

My doctoral research looked at the everyday practices and politics of caregiving in Japan’s child protection system. My aim was to contextualize broader discourses of deinstitutionalization, illness, and precarity in the lived experiences of stakeholders. Children's perspectives were key, and I utilized a variety of modular, visual-material mediums to facilitate their participation, ranging from photography and story writing to walking tours and show-and-tell. I theorized children's social care in terms of spatial-material relations to offer new ways of understanding well-being and inequity. I suggested how disparate spaces of care practice—from casework offices to the side streets of group homes—formed a piecemeal assemblage of competing perspectives and technologies. The welfare system still does not help children achieve positive life outcomes, yet I found that it is the local tactics of care and resilience which offer the most potential for improving equity. The goal of this research was to inform welfare policy and mental health services on the experiences of stakeholders, both clients and practitioners, aiming to rethink how care practices characterize people in marginalized and resource-constrained contexts.

I completed my master’s training at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where I researched identity and cross-cultural health issues in Hawaii's Japanese diaspora. Originally from the United States, my foundational education in social science was at Rocky Mountain College and Toyo University. Outside of research, I am active in a variety of child welfare advocacy groups such as International Foster Care Alliance (IFCA), a nonprofit organization that promotes youth empowerment, professional development, and cross-cultural knowledge sharing.

My research has been published in journals including Medicine Anthropology Theory, NEOS, Japanese Studies, and Anthropology and Medicine.

Feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more.

Email: christopher.chapman@anthro.ox.ac.uk