Graphic Possibilities: Ethnographic Comic Book about Hepatitis C and Injecting Drug Use

Aleksandra Bartoszko

VID Specialized University


This essay is devoted to a communicating potential of graphic ethnography. ‘The Virus’ is an ethnographic comic book about injecting drug use and hepatitis C, based on a long-term fieldwork in Norway. I elaborate on why I chose to work with a graphic artist and active and former drug users to outline phenomenology of injecting practices, risk management, disease and treatment, but also to disseminate knowledge gained through this ethnographic study to a broader audience, in particular to persons who inject drugs and service providers. The project was informed by theoretical insights within phenomenology of illness and critical medical anthropology. In this essay, however, I focus on and emphasize the didactic potential of creative ethnography for patient education in general, and harm reduction and safe drug use education in particular.


Graphic Ethnography; Comic; Medical Anthropology; Hepatitis C; Drug Use; Harm Reduction

Author contact: aleksandra.bartoszko [at]

Citation: Bartoszko, A., 2019. “Ethnographic Comic Book about Hepatitis C and Injecting Drug Use”, Irish Journal of Anthropology, 22(1), 38-50.