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Introductory Lecture.docx

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Western University
Anthropology 2290F/G
Gerald Mc Kinley

Sept, 09, 2013 Introduction to Medical Anthropology -Medical anthropology is defined by the Society for Medical Anthropology as a subfield that draws upon social, cultural, biological, and linguistic anthropology to understand: - those factors which influence health and well-being -the experience and distribution of illness -the prevention and treatment of sickness -healing processes -the social relations of therapy management -the cultural importance and utilization of pluralistic medical systems -Basically medical anthropology is the study of health and well-being and the systems that support them -Some aspects of culture in the video were in the language barriers shown in both the positive and negative example of how patients should be dealt with -The doctor had the power in these relations and in the good example they asked if the patient understood their treatment and made their instructions very clear while in the bad example the doctor cut the patient off and used words that they did not understand thereby complicating the treatment process -In the good example the doctor was friendly and listened to the patient and answered all questions while basically the opposite was done in the poor example with the doctor cutting off the patient and ignoring their questions -The doctors both were wearing the standard white coats and stethoscopes making them look official and like they were in control while the patients already in a vulnerable state of sickness are made to wear robes that can only enhance the feeling of vulnerability -Doctors using scientific language indicates their knowledge and role in the medical system and while that knowledge is important it is not necessarily conducive to use the scientific words with patients -The textbook makes reference to the culture of biomedicine and doctors in our culture are shown representing two of the most recognizable signifiers of this which are the white lab coat and the stethoscope -The coat serves the function of a protective covering for the doctor but it also serves a symbolic role -The stethoscope has an important use but its wearing around the next has become an important cultural symbol -Most times in the biomedical culture we notice the relationship between passive and active participants in the system because there is a division between those with the knowledge and those with the symptoms -This relationship has a history that developed and continues to do so within the history of the biomedical system -As a medical anthropologist the relationship between doctor and patient is one of the topics that you can research but other topics include: -health ramifications of ecological “adaptation and maladaptation” -popular health culture and domestic health care practices -local interpretations of bodily processes -changing body projects and valued bodily attributes -preventative health and harm reduction practices -perceptions of risk, vulnerability and responsibility for illness and health care -risk and protective dimensions of human behavior, cultural norms and social institutions -the experience of illness and the social relations of sickness -the political economy of health care provision -the range o
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