ANTH 227 Lecture Notes - Participant Observation, Narrative, White Coat

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31 Jan 2013
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Anthropology 227 Medical Anthropology January 15th, 2013
Healers and Medical Culture
Filde’s painting
- sick little girl on Christmas eve
- doctor who is struggling with being powerless but stays with her all night long =
compassion
- in the background there is death looming over, in the morning she died
Narratives - everyone has a different narratives, they may intermix with zones of friction
- are a social action, not a “thing”
- one of the most powerful ways of knowing, we respect it the most ex. When you
take a class you look for someone who’s been there
- going beyond the science this is what medical anthropology adds to the picture
of medicine and science
- ways of thinking, speaking and organizing with a plot like structure
- purpose embedding in them
- give shape to illness experience , establish meaning to the meaning of our
experience
- gives shape to clinical practice
Professional vs. Patient narratives medical anthropology in concerned with the
complex interaction between individuals, their bodies, interruption with their health
care situations and institutions.
Disease - the biological manifestation of a health case interruption, not an entity but a
way of explaining something
Illness the way a disease is brought into individual consciousness, experience
- this doesn’t exist in clinics, in families
Sickness the way that disease and illness are socially constructed
Meaning centered Anthropology
- Medical anthropology looks at the meaning of illness experience or the
meaningfulness of the disease to the physician. The very same disease may have a
completely different meaningfulness from physician to physician.
-
Interpreted Anthropology
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- because something is constructed doesn’t mean that it is imaginary – interpreted
differently depending on the individual
- Everything has a critical social aspect
- Trying to get a plausible interpretation
Social relations between individuals involved
- Ethnography: description and analysis of a particular aspect of society/piece of
culture, the collection of data that describes a culture (both a product and a
process)
Ex. Participant observation
- Interviewing 700 people for 7 minutes vs. interviewing 7 people for 700 minutes
Looking for narratives
Arthur Kleinmann “Father of Medical Anthropology”
Medicine is a culture
- Has its own language
- Changing all the time values change, culture changes
Analysis Qualitative Research
- Data = interviews
1. Interview take taped interview and type it exactly how it is
(including silences, pauses etc. - tell you just as much)
2. Reflect on material gathered look for key themes, values,
narratives, implicit and explicit values
Cancer
- The majority of studies that analyze the psychological aspects of illness reply
upon instruments that yield quantitative data such as structured interviews,
standard scales etc. rather than qualitative approaches that might be able to shed
light on the issue of validity
- “has a silence around it”, has a certain culture value around it
- Some place, your diagnosis is not given to you
Patient vs. Clinicians Clinicians resist answering to the narrative of the patient as
they have a different.
- Clinicians focus on the treatment, patients want to know their chances
Later on, patients will be transferred to clinicians who will
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