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ANT208 Chapter #1.docx

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ANT208 Chapter #1 Notes: A Biocultural Approach to Medical Anthropology  Everyone gets sick more than once in their life time – each illness affect individuals differently  Disease common in one population may be rare or nonexistent in another  Attempts to prevent, cure or lessen the affects of disease exists in every culture, it is the medical traditions that vary What is Anthropology?  A discipline that investigates the nature and causes of human variation and those aspects of life that are common to all humanity  Anthropologists seek to understand similarities and differences in behaviour and biology across cultures and populations and how these dimensions change over time  Anthropological research focuses on: language, kinship, economic and political systems, subsistence, religious beliefs, healing practices etc  Franz Boas: father of anthropology – known for his extensive field work  Cultural Relativism: other cultures must not be evaluated in relation to another judged superior, rather cultures must be understood or “made sense of” on their own terms » Boas did not view cultural change as a progression from ‘primitive’ to ‘civilization’ or people whose society differed from Europeans as inferior, rather, he saw them all simply as unique adaptations to their own particular circumstances, a concept that applied to biology, culture and language  4 Distinct Fields of Anthropology: » Cultural: studies human behaviour in the context of societies, their traditions and institutions » Linguistics: studies language » Archaeology: studies the behaviour of past populations – either historic or prehistoric – based on material remains » Biological: studies human biology, asks how and why humans are biologically similar or different across groups and in relation to other species, and how humans have changed biologically over the past hundreds, thousands or millions of years. The Development of Medical Anthropology  Originally came to be while physicians were study non-Western or tribal societies involved in colonial health care  By the mid-twentieth century, there was a growing need of anthropologist to help assess if American men were healthy enough to go to war  With the creation of the World Health Organization in 1948, anthropologists were hired to help understand and break down “cultural barriers” to health promotion campaigns and craft those that were more “culturally appropriate”  These anthropologists played an important role in counter
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