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Lecture 3

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University of Toronto St. George
Bianca Dahl

Lecture 3- ANTC61 September 25, 2012 Metaphors, bodies, gender, cancer AMPUTEE WANNABES • An illness? An individual’s interpretation of how they feel about their body • A disease? -> biological interpretation of illness (what the doctors make of this meaning) • Sickness? -> macro perspective, within in which certain medical conditions arise • A physical condition? • A mental aberration? Recap from Last Week • Distinctions between illness, disease, and sickness -> a macro perspective (social, political and economic perspective ) (Kleinman) • 3 types of bodies (Scheper-Hughes and Lock) • > individual • > social: how disease and illness affects the body • > body politics: • Biomedicine and the concept of cultural competence (Gregg and Saha) • > what people do for medicine at their home • > how patients and doctors in the biomedical field understand each other • > training doctors to be more culturally competent • how the doctors misunderstand the illness experiences of the patients • how the effort to do cultural competency training for doctors can actually end up reproducing stereotypes and more problems, instead of better comprehension of social and cultural lives of patients  cultural competency training was teaching doctors to be aware of other cultures > but instead, doctors might stat to stereotype patients, based on what their cultural background is Kleineman (education is the answer) 1) doctors have to be empathic witnesses (the dr just gave the patient the medicine for headache, rather than finding out what was causing the headache) 2) use practical coping method 3) act as ethnographers Cultural Competence? * Prof’s friend: the nurse complimented on her English, and someone else also did, even through she was born in the US, but she was south Asian This Week's Readings • Sontag-- language shape and reflects our ideas about illness – stigma lies in language • > cancer was like a death sentence • > someone with breast cancer is SO stigmatized • Ehrenreich “Welcome to Cancer land”– the relentless bright-siding of the cancer awareness industry is a “pink-washing” of the underlying structural causes of cancer, and curtails women's rage against it • > the very people who are promoting these campaigns, are the same companies that sell out products that CAUSE cancer (the body politic, the sickness) -> the focus on breast cancer awareness is actually simply fuelling this vicious cycling • Jain (she’s a open lesbian)– Ehrenreich. Offers a 'queer' reading of cancer in it heteronormativeness-- asks, what if we think about cancer as a communal event? (516) -> if we think abut the society we live in and how it's affecting us... • > She's the only one who is an actual Anthropologist • > 'butch' --> she's a lesbian, having breast cancer, but looks manly (flat chest, no hair) • > looking at the sub-group of women who don't fit in the hyper-feminine category , destabilize the whole notion even more • “what if we think of cancer as a communal event” • > cars are carcinogenic they pollute and cause cancer • > corporate responsibility is masking the relationship • > pg. 524 -> both cars and breast cancers have ellaborate semiotic broad interpretation ; we have
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