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Lecture

ANTHROP 1AA3 Lecture Notes - Medical Anthropology


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTHROP 1AA3
Professor
Tracy Prowse

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Case Study: Anorexia Nervosa
Health problem with symptoms associated with a particular culture
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Underlying causes - stress, fear, shock
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Could have been placed socially outside their community could make them succumb to
the syndromes
Victims often socially marginalized
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Culture Specific Syndromes
Associated with industrial, western societies
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More common in "white" girls
Found mostly in Euro-American adolescent females
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Very mental that is hard to change for girls
Try to help them see, and stay away from it once they've been treated
Difficult to cure medically
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Some people have suggested there is a genetic component to it, not clear
The flu: caused by a virus, easy treatments like sleep, rest
No clear biological cause
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Women describe it as an issue of control, they can decide what they eat and how they
look
Culturally linked to concern with appearance and body weight
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1/10 are males
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May be due to increase in the occurrence, or increased awareness and recording of the
disorder
Increase in prevalence since 1970's
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Other countries not North America, Europe
Not seen in 'developing' world until 1990's
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Is that the cause? And why there is more and more experiences?
Is this an urban, modern, western disease?
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What is so different about us?
Why is it so prevalent in 'western' societies?
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14-15 century
Experience some type of religious meeting
Would express themselves through denying themselves food and water
"Miracle Maidens"
Wanted to be a nun
Denying yourself of something brought you closer to God
Died of a stroke (common in anorexia)
St. Catherin of Siena (1347-1380)
In the 16th century, the catholic church no longer accepted it, said you were a witch if
you practiced it
Historical evidence for 'holy anorexia'
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Full-figured women showed health and fertility centuries ago
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Major CSS of "the West": Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia
Readings: Ch 4, p.166-178
Culture-specific Syndromes
Monday, January 21, 2013
9:50 AM
Anthro 1AA3 Page 1
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