Week 1 Articles COMPLETED.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Peter Skrivanic

Good Article  Anthropologists are working in societies with increasing access to high technology medical regimes, though often in partial and incomplete ways, and the ‘medical imaginary’ – a profound fascination with biotechnologies and therapeutics  Diseases and biotechnologies follow new structures of inequalities, no longer neatly ties to ‘developed’ vs. ‘developing’ or high and low income nations, producing unthinkable existential dilemmas and new contradictions o Indebted Indian women have to decide whether to sell their kidneys to maintain family o Individuals are forced to decide whether to mortgage their futures to pay for cancer treatments  Medical anthropology emerged as a distinctive sub-discipline within social anthropology iin the 50s o It was shaped as the ‘comparative study of medical systems’ Kleinman Article  Medicine deals with two types of reality 1. Scientific reality 2. Ordinary reality  Or in other words, medicine is both a: 1. Biophysical science: modern medical theory concerns itself with this 2. Human science:  Wittgenstein refers to language as a mediating reality  Medicine is always found to constitute a system. The medical system is an ordered, coherent body of ideas, values, and practices embedded in a given cultural context from which it derives its significance  The medical system forms an indissoluble and heirachical whole in which healing acts are closely linked with ideas about disease causation and models for classifying disease. o The whole is oriented toward effectively dealing with illness o From this viewpoint, healing is not the outcome of diagnostic acts, but the healing function is active from the outset in the way illness is perceived and the experience of illness organized  Medical systems relate and treat both individual and social realities o They employ different explanatory models and idioms to make sense of disease and give meaning to the individual and social experience of illness o Meaning and efficacy until recently have always been inseparable in medical healing  Medical systems in a social-cultural context, structure the experience of illness and, in part, create the form disease takes. o Disease occurs as a natural process and works
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