Medical Anthropology: Medicalization Oct 11/2012
Starts with Irving Zola (1970’s)
- Medicalization is a form of social control (cf. Foucault’s discussion of
Ivan Illich (1975)
- The medical profession harms people through iatrogenesis (social
problems & illness is increasing)
– Is a process whereby a variety of “behaviours” or conditions become
– Re-defined, they are amenable to medical treatment.
– It is about regulating people & society. Telling people what is deviant
and what is normal.
Pica – A condition whereby people eat non-food stuff Ex. Eating dirt
Called Geophagy drive which could be part of evolution Geophagy
is a ‘universal condition’ and is extremely common in asia
Geophagy isn’t necessarily bad if the dirt contains clay. In a lot of
communities it contains kaeopectate, vitamins & minerals. The World
Health Organization is against this; however, it is going to have an
impact on society in adverse ways.
Lombroso’s Theory of Anthropological Criminology
- Theory of inheritance: Individuals are “born criminal”. Physiological
differences can be identified among them.
- Images from Lombroso’s criminal man contrasted with
- People with robust features reminiscent of savage and primitives
man indicate an innate tendency to revert to ape-like savage
1) Endomorphic - criminal
2) Mesomorphic - jolly
3) Ectomorphic - nerdy
Atlas of Men & Somatotypes - By 1940’s Sheldon had identified a number of body-types that were
through to indicate temperament
- If deviance is related to genetic abnormality, what is the best way to
Case Study: Medicalization of Homosexuality
History of Sexuality
- Theorists have tried to explain homosexuality (ex. Von Krafft-Ebing
& pathology, LeVay’s hypothalamus & regulation of sex behaviour)