Illness and Death 18/01/2013 3:08:00 PM
Ethnomedicine – study of cross-cultural health systems, focussing
perceptions and classifications of health problems, prevention measures,
diagnosis, healing and healers
Western biomedicine – a healing approach based on modern Western
science that emphasizes technology in diagnosing and treating health
problems related to the human body, is an ethnomedical system.
Disease – a biological health problem that is objective and universal, such as
a bacterial or viral infection
Illness – culturally specific perceptions and experiences of a health problem.
Medical anthropologists study both diseases and illness and how both must
be understood within their cultural contexts.
Culture-Specific Syndrome – a health problem with a set of symptoms
associated with a particular culture
social factors such as stress, fear or shock are often the underlying
Somatization refers to the process through which the body absorbs
social stress and manifests symptoms of suffering
Susto is found in Spain and Portugal and among Latinos wherever
o attribute fright/shock disease to losing a loved one or having
a terrible accident
Ethno-etiology – reers to a cross-culturally specific casual explanation for
Structural suffering - or social suffering to refer to health problems caused
by powerful forces such as poverty, war, famine or forced migration. This