The medical tourist and a political economy of care

Sharon Bolton, Lila Skountridaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Medical tourism has gained prominence in academic, policy and business arenas in describing the growth in the number of people travelling outside of their home country to receive planned medical treatment, with the emphasis on the combination of addressing pressing health concerns with a leisure trip. This conceptual essay offers insights into how patients are being reconceptualised in a neoliberal setting as medical tourists. In so doing it offers two key contributions. First it offers a deeper theorisation of trends in international healthcare through a political economy of care framework. This framework is not only focused on human interaction and experience but also on the political, economic and social space in which human life is played out. Second, it offers new insights into the exploration of human relationships within a market economy so that the medical tourist is seen with new eyes as a relational being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-516
JournalAntipode: A Radical Journal of Geography
Issue number2
Early online date23 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • medical travel
  • medical tourism
  • political economy of care
  • market dynamics
  • relationality
  • embeddedness


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