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Anthropology - Health and Illness Lecture Notes.docx

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Karen Slonim

FINAL Different subsistence strategies affects who we mate with, how we eat, how we die PAPER Lia Casaca: [email protected] Lecture: Health and Illness Part 1  As broaden scope beyond culture, see how medical anthropology connects to other subfields  Cultural anthropology was dominated by clinical medical anthropology and critical anthropology  Clinical medical anthropologists worked within hospitals working as interpreters  Critical medical anthropologists are critiquing medical anthropology too much that they are not useful anymore  Being hypercritical and suggesting medical systems should not exist  Medical anthropologists look at diseases/syndromes that are present in certain cultures/groups  Evolutionary medicine looks at the process of evolution through natural selection  We respond to selective pressures  Who we are today is made by a series of selections to environmental changes  Fever is a healthy thing that the body does to kill off germs  Ways in which biological anthropology and cultural anthropology intersect: different ways of looking at the same problem  Taught what illness and disease are and what our behaviours are when we are sick  Options and responses will be different for different people (ex. If they have different socio-economic status)  Proximate: presence or absence of an organism (ex. A person who gave you a cold)  Ultimate: if they keep coming in with a cold will look at other reasons why they may have a low immune system etc. (more distant cause of a cold)  Syndemic approach: Forces us to look at an infectious disease as a biological entity  How inflectional disease interacts with host  Look at physical, political, social, geographical environments of host  Often think of disease and illness as interchangeable terms  Like the difference between sex and gender  Think of it objectively: either infected with something or either free of disease  Illness includes more things than disease  Disease is like HIV whereas illness could be a cold or feeling tired, etc.  Disease category is proximate cause  Illness is proximate and ultimate cause  Illness is personal, learned, environmentally taught  Sickness is how we are encouraged or taught to adopt a sick role Lay Theories of Illness/Disease Causation  The way we view health is as an individual we are responsible for our own health  Ex. If you contract STD it is your fault, if you smoke and develop lung cancer it is your fault  Want people to take responsibility for illnesses but do not want them to feel so much shame that they cannot deal with illnesses  Source of maladies lies within natural world  Aspects of natural environment, inanimate and living objects, can make us sick  Social world: blame others for our illnesses  Can see what behaviours are reinforced by what people view as
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