Tactics as Empirical and Conceptual Objects: Patient Activism and the Politics of Thalassaemia in Cyprus

Theodoros Kyriakides


This article explores tactics as political technologies in the context of health and patient activism. It does so by exploring how the PanCyprian Thalassaemia Association––a thalassaemia patients association situated in Cyprus––opposed a medical rationing scheme imposed by the Cypriot government and managed to overturn the decision. I make the case that “tactics,” for patient associations, are practices capable of rendering the political problematics of their illness visible to public and governmental perception, and propose four tactics by which the PTA was able to achieve such task. By putting the given event in conversation with STS and anthropological literature the article attempts to productively entangle tactics in their empirical and conceptual guises. This serves a two-fold purpose: That of putting together a repertoire of practices which patient associations can use to conduct politics, and that of facilitating connection between patient associations through these proposed practices. The article concludes with some more general considerations regarding an empirical-conceptual project on tactics.


Cyprus; thalassaemia; politics of illness; patient activism; comparison; alliance; knowledge; action repertoire; strategy

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17351/ests2016.48

Copyright (c) 2016 Theodoros Kyriakides

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