ANT208H1S▯ January 17, 2013
Medical Anthropology: Evolution & culture - Which ideas link anthropology & medicine?
- copies of 2nd ed. on reserve @ libraries if needed
- summary of slides available on Portal after lecture
- todayʼs lecture will be describing the subject of Medical Anthropology as a discipline and itʼs history
- focus of class is evolution of human health vulnerabilities but not all biological reasons - we must
consider the social and cultural adaptations.
- key terms: anthropology, culture, emic/etic, ethography, ethnology, disease, nosology
Slide 1 - Deﬁning Anthropology
- 4 sub disciplines
- culture concept
- result and inﬂuence on health based on evolution
- biocultural perspective
- w/i broad ﬁeld of Anthropology, many like to turn attention of any human study into
biocultural perspective - health and history of illness
- you can consider the biocultural perspective of several things (ie. food, health)
2 - Deﬁning Medical Anthropology
- disease | Illness | Sickness | Suffering
- locating Health (3 bodies)
- political economy (critical Approach)
- ethnomedicine (ie. inequalities via geography)
- aim is to look at concepts by applying deﬁnitions. Some terms have multiple interpretations so
gets tricky and answers can get ﬂexible
- Evolutionary: How did this happen
- Interpretive: How do we feel sickness
- Applied: Public health
3 - Anthropology: aims to investigate things about people (describe + understand)
▯ - cultural + biological
▯ ▯ - are these separate or related? weʼre focusing on a biocultural approach
▯ ▯ in this class so weʼre looking at similarities applied to health
▯ - similarities + differences
▯ ▯ - understand differences + biological effects (ie. resource disparities)
▯ ▯ ▯ - some people have greater disparities and needs
▯ ▯ - look at what is common to all individuals and cultures
▯ - space + time
▯ ▯ - social space(self-identity, cultures, & traditions)
▯ ▯ - geographic space (sociopolitics, weather, health care availability)
▯ ▯ - change in lifetimes, historic, prehistoric
▯ ▯ ▯ - lifetime = what happens during recent history
▯ ▯ ▯ - historic = written/documented record of human existence
▯ ▯ ▯ - prehistoric = non-written record of human existence
▯ - humans + closely related species
▯ ▯ - apes, chimpanzees, etc.
4 - Holistic Approach To Study Of Human Beings
▯ - aims at full + coherent understanding (collect info from all three and puzzle what you learned
▯ together) ANT208H1S▯ January 17, 2013
▯ ▯ - broad + inclusive
▯ ▯ - biological + cultural
▯ ▯ - physiological + social
5 - Culture & Biology
▯ - culture is a key component of biology. ie) many languages, varying diets by region.
▯ - biology is a key component of culture. ie) life-histories + large brain + vocal range allowing
▯ complex languages.
▯ - they heavily inﬂuence each other.
▯ - human adaptations are based on both - “biocultural”
6 - Biocultural Analysis
▯ - humans have an evolutionary history, species today is in a different place due to greater
▯ knowledge of adaptation + physical limits + reproduction.
▯ - look at data published then compare to same data set from 20, 50, etc. yrs ago then discuss
▯ where we are now.
▯ - deﬁne condition, ie) inﬂuenza viral infection
▯ ▯ - evolutionary: natural selection favors reproduction over health
▯ ▯ - historical: we tend to focus primarily on contemporary medical problems
▯ ▯ - cross-cultural: chance of getting a certain disease and/or vaccine depend on culture,
▯ ▯ education %, whether or not culture values health over other things.
▯ ▯ - political/economic: strong public health infrastructure combatted higher rates of ﬂu in
2 1 0 ▯ ▯ 2
▯ ▯ ▯ - posters to wash hands more carefully
▯ ▯ ▯ - vaccines + medications widely available
7 - Nature & Cause of Variation
▯ - change in variation and susceptibility
▯ - changes over time (different time scales)
▯ ▯ - hierarchy before in certain countries, now most viewed as equal
▯ - many topics - language + religion + kinship + power relationships + gender + etc...
8 - How Do You Collect Data In Diff. Anthropological Fields?
▯ - socio-cultural: via talking/interacting with individuals
▯ - evolutionary: look at physical body + genetics (formerly known as Biological Anthropology)
▯ - linguistics: effects of languages
▯ - archaeology: excavation for greater knowledge of past
9 - Sociocultural Anthropology: Core Concepts
▯ - combines ethnography (instrument in anthropology-related research - writing from past about
▯ different cultures) + ethnology (differences + similarities in society and culture)
10 - Culture: Patterns of thinking + behavior common to a group of people
▯ - is culture based on individual or population? can one person be cultured?
▯ - rituals, working life, diets, family formation, healing practices
▯ - includes beliefs + values + traditions + practices
▯ ▯ - values: what one “should do” based on occupation / age / life situation
▯ ▯ - traditions: marriages, celebrations, social/developmental milestones
▯ - everything we do is culture - how does this