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Scheper-Hughes & Lock - The Mindful Body- A Prolegomenon to Future Work in Medical Anthropology.doc

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McGill University
ANTH 202
Eduardo Kohn

ScheperHughesLockThe Mindful Body A Prolegomenon to Future Work in Medical Anthropologythree perspectives of focus 1 as a phenomenally experienced individual bodyself 2 as a social body a natural symbol for thinking about relationships among nature society and culture 3 as a body politic an artifact of social and political controlassumption of body as simultaneously physical and symbolic artifactthree audiences 1 general anthropologists toward understanding intellectual domain we all sharethe body 2 medical anthropologists to writings on body not usually recognized for relevance to field 3 cliniciansother health practitioners who daily minister to mindful bodiesthree bodies1 individual body phenomenological sense of lived experience of bodyself assume that all people share at least some intuitive sense of embodied self as existing apart from other individual bodies 2 social body referring to representational uses of body as natural symbol with which to think about nature society culture body in health offers model of organic wholeness the body in sickness offers model of social disharmony conflict disintegrationreciprocally society in sickness and in health offers model for understanding body3 body politic referring to regulation surveillance control of bodies individual and collective in reproduction and sexuality work leisure and other forms of deviance and human differencestability of body politic rests on ability to regulate populations the social body and to discipline individual bodiesthe three bodies rep three separateoverlapping units of analysis but also three diff theoretical approaches and epistemologies phenomenologies individual body the lived self structuralism and symbolism the social body and poststructuralism body politicof these three the body politic is the most dynamic in suggesting why and how certain kinds of bodies are socially produced The Individual BodyHow Real is Real The Cartesian Legacysingular premise guiding Western scienceclinical medicine is commitment to fundametal opposition between spirit and matter mind and body and real and unrealex woman suffering from chronicdebilitating headaches tells story of husband beating her worrying about failingoutofschool son looking after senile mother most students presented with this story think the details to be extraneous and this is the kind of radically materialist thinking that is product of Western epistemology goes back to Hippocrates notions that challenge power of ancient folk healerscharlatansmagis because he cautioned medicine to treat only what was observable and palpable to senseDescartes who most clearly formed ideas that are immediate precursors of contemporary biomed conceptions of human organism
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