Main Theoretical Perspectives Sept 20/12
- Emphasizes the role of biological & behavioural adaptations.
Ex. Alland Jr 1970 – Plasmodium falciparum the Mano & Sickle Cell
Pliocene 5-2.5 Million years ago
Pleistocene 2.5-0.20 Million years ago
Holocene 0.2 Million years ago – Present
Holocene Cultivation –Cut down forest slash and burn shifting to
agriculture. Engage in Swidden & Milpa. Use land for agriculture and
work the land until it can’t grow anything. Move onto the next area and
wait for vegetation in old area to begin to grow. Burn new growing
vegetation until it’s ash in the soil. This lifestyle causes problems by
allowing water to lay stagnant and allowing mosquitoes to feed on the
population. Malaria emerges and sickle cell adaptation emerges to fight
“Health is a measure of biological & behavioural adaptations” –Singer &
- As a result of out culture, we respond to sickness in different ways. Ex.
Some people experience more pain, others less.
“Disease is not an entity: it is an explanatory model” – Kleinman, 1980
We all learn to see reality in different ways & respond to sets of symbols
– Good, 1994
Goffman: Dramaturgy. Individual actors perform according to a cultural
The body is the site for experiencing & conveying messages about
- Within this interpretive system disease is ascribed meaning.
Does sickness involve performance?
-Parsons [Sick Role] Functionalist
Ex. Marriage, Prostitution, etcetera
Sickness is dysfunctional It prevents us from preforming our normal
roles in society.
Core Nations: First embraced capitalism (England, France, Holland & Germany)
Periphery: Sold cash crops to core nations (E. Europe)
Semiperiphery: Grew dependent upon the core nations (Countries
around the Mediterranean)
External Area: Left out of capitalism & had few connections with the
core nations (Africa & Asia)
Capitalism is the room of many problems because it promotes
inequality. There is something inherently wrong with this we are all
equal and should receive the same things.
Is there a relationship between health & wellness Yes. The lowest is
in Africa which is high in periphery.
CMA Critical Medical Anthropology
- Anthropology examines the differences in power
- Power shapes pattern of medical care & health status – Singer &
Baer, 2007 p.33
Illness & The Body in Crosscultural Perspectives
What is health?
Conceptions of health
Ex. James Bay Cree Canada: Cree – health is a relationship between
socioeconomic and natural environments. Animism– everything is alive
& connected at a moral level. Hunting involves relationships with
animals. Good people (innumarik) get to eat animals. The animal
“allows” them to kill it – they don’t kill it on their own.
Definitions of health vary wildly & are impacted by time, experience &
Is there any common theme between a variety of definitions –
What is health? Health is…
- Health is a matter of what we feel and how we preform Ex. Sociology &
the sick role (functions & dysfunction)
-Health is defined in terms of functionality not just the self.
-Definition is rooted i