Dr Pauline Herbst

PhD. MA (distinction). GradDip. BA(Hons) with distinction.

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Professional Teaching Fellow
Research Fellow


Pauline Herbst is a social anthropologist whose research broadly falls under four specialties: medical anthropology, the anthropology of childhood, narrative anthropology and graphic medicine/ visual anthropology. She has explored chronic illness and the socio-cultural effect of screening and diagnosis with the metabolic condition MCADD, respiratory disease COPD, and hysterectomy. Her doctoral work, a nationwide research project was conducted in the School of Social Sciences, Anthropology at the University of Auckland and she has a Masters with distinction in Anthropology from Rhodes University, South Africa. She is currently exploring health and well-being in relation to the global health of the environment.

Research | Current

My current research lies at the intersection of environmental health, broadly defined, and how different ethnographic methods and science communication changes the nature of knowlsedge production. 

Our Pandemic Lives: Photography, Sociality and Visual Method during Crisis. An ongoing analysis of visual represenations during pandemics. 

COVID Youth Voices Matter. Young adult’s responses to and impacts of COVID-19.

Food security, risk management and resilience: managing chronic conditions during times of rapid change. A project that seeks to understand how families adapt their existing management of chronic conditions, usually treated with food, in New Zealand and Australian children during times of rapid change such as wildfires, earthquakes and the COVID-19 pandemic;

Book Project: Growing Up with a Hidden Disorder: An Ethnography of the Metabolic Condition MCADD in New Zealand

This nationwide New Zealand study examines the daily lived experience of the first generation of children to be diagnosed with MCADD via newborn screening and uses a variety of methods to capture children’s perspectives across the age range, from newborn to age 10, along with those of family members and health professionals. These methods include participant observation, semi-structured interviews, photovoice, metaphor sort technique, body mapping, and storyboarding.

Teaching | Current

ANTHRO 203 Thinking like a Social Anthropologist

ANTHRO 268 Ethnographic Encounters with the Environment

ANTRO 368 Ethnographic Encounters with the Environment

Areas of expertise

  • Medical anthropology
  • Anthropology of children and young people
  • Visual anthropology
  • Ethnograhy and Methodology
  • Social anthropology
  • Identity and ethnicity
  • Religion and the politics of health
  • Also media anthropology and the anthropology of design
  • Areas: South Africa, New Zealand.


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Herbst, P. S. (2019). ‘Life of Lola’: A commentary on graphic anthropology. Commoning Ethnography, 2 (1), 75-87. 10.26686/ce.v2i1.5664
  • Dobson, R., Herbst, P., Candy, S., Brott, T., Garrett, J., Humphrey, G., ... Warren, J. A. (2019). Understanding end-user perspectives of mobile pulmonary rehabilitation (mPR): Cross-Sectional Survey and Interviews. JMIR Formative Research, 3 (4)10.2196/15466
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/51849
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Merryn Tawhai, Rosie Dobson, Gayl Humphrey, Jim Warren
  • Herbst, P. (2016). Action Stations: Biological Cosmopolitanism at Play on Online Support Groups for Genetic Disorders. Sites: a journal of social anthropology and cultural studies, 13 (1), 176-176. 10.11157/sites-vol13iss1id306


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 4, Room 429
New Zealand

Social links

Web links