Health and Medicine
Essays in Cultural Anthropology have sought to make sense of health and illness both at the level of individual experience and perception and at the level of institutionalized systems. Often, the goal is social theoretical analysis of the significance of modern medicine. Equally important is the imperative to do ameliorative work to address problems such as social inequalities in health and access to healthcare, failures of health professionals to address patients’ primary concerns, and the need to evaluate the impact of health services in populations’ well being. We recognize that these different motivations in the cultural analysis of health, the desire analytically and theoretically to understand, as well as the desire to contribute to change, need to be maintained and appreciated. Accordingly, we present a diverse selection of essays that question dominant definitions of health and illness, evaluate alternative options for achieving health, and assess the appropriateness of healthcare systems for individuals and groups.
Prominent organizing themes for many essays are social and cultural frameworks of analysis of health, and the experience of health and illness. Such essays often explore the centrality of the individual’s views, perceptions and responses to the experience of health problems. While examining the systemic and social factors that shape individuals’ risks of ill health, they also examine the underlying social and cultural attitudes that shape perceptions of health and illness held by individuals, groups and societies as a whole. This interpretative focus recognizes that the healthcare system must increasingly take account of patients’ and caregivers’ personal experiences and perceptions if it is to provide effective care. At the same time, it recognizes the constraining circumstances of the individual: limitations of resource, education, income, location and biology. Thus, cultural frameworks of explanation, and prevailing formal and informal understandings of health and illness, when analyzed for their roles in channeling health perception and health seeking behavior, are seen as both resource and constraint. Essays in this category include Deepa Reddy’s “Good Gifts for the Common Good: Blood and Bioethics in the Market of Genetic Research” (2007), Ann Julienne Russ’s “Love’s Labor Paid For: Gift and Commodity at the Threshold of Death” (2005), and Judith Farquhar and Qicheng Zhang’s “Biopolitical Beijing: Pleasure, Sovereignty, and Self-Cultivation in China’s Capital” (2005). Other examples are Karen-Sue Taussig’s “Bovine Abominations: Genetic Culture and Politics in the Netherlands” (2004), Jean Langford’s “Traces of Folk Medicine in Jaunpur” (2003), Stacy Leigh Pigg’s “Languages of Sex and AIDS in Nepal: Notes on the Social Production of Commensurability” (2001), and Christine Walley’s “Searching for ‘Voices’: Feminism, Anthropology, and the Global Debate Over Female Genital Operations” (1997).
Another important organizing theme is healthcare systems and practices. Here the analytic gaze shifts to the organizational and institutional arrangements for healthcare. Historically, the medical profession has been viewed as the crucial shaping force of healthcare systems. However, transformations in work processes in the healthcare system have led to increasing emphasis on market competition, business ethos, and governmental supervision and accountability, so that these factors are now being recognized as gaining ground. Meanwhile, the practice of medicine continues to be influenced by the need to deal with old and new uncertainties. For example, expansion in the evidence base of medical knowledge often seems, paradoxically, to enhance the sense of medicine’s epistemological insecurity. Essays in Cultural Anthropology have tended to emphasize the scope for alternative health systems and practices, if not to question the institutional dominance of biomedicine, at least to fill the record on increasing numbers of cases in which healthcare is neglected or mishandled by biomedicine. Some examples of essays that address the organizational aspects of healthcare are Michael Montoya’s “Bioethnic Conscription: Genes, Race and Mexicana/o Ethnicity in Diabetes Research” (2007), Shao Jing’s “Fluid Labor and Blood Money: The Economy of HIV/AIDS in Rural Central China” (2006), and George Lipsitz’s “Learning from New Orleans: The Social Warrant of Hostile Privatism and Competitive Consumer Citizenship” (2006). Other examples are Peter Redfield’s “Doctors, Borders, and Life in Crisis” (2005), Sarah Pinto’s “Development Without Institutions: Ersatz Medicine and the Politics of Everyday Life in Rural North India” (2004), and Matthew Kohrman’s “Authorizing a Disability Agency in Post-Mao China: Deng Pufang’s Story as Biomythography” (2003).
Scientific Sovereignty: How International Drug Donation Programs Reshape Health, Disease and the State
Cultural Anthropology May 2012, Vol. 27, No. 2: 310-332
The Semiotics of Security: Infectious Disease Research and the Biopolitics of Informational Bodies in the United States
Cultural Anthropology May 2012, Vol. 27, No. 2: 333-357
A. David Napier
Cultural Anthropology February 2012, Vol. 27, No. 1: 118-121
Nonself Help: How Immunology Might Reframe the Enlightment
A. David Napier
Cultural Anthropology February 2012, Vol. 27, No. 1: 122-137
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Immunology, the Human Self, and the Neoliberal Regime
Cultural Anthropology February 2012, Vol. 27, No. 1: 138-143
On Metaphor: Reciprocity and Immunity
Michael M.J. Fischer
Cultural Anthropology February 2012, Vol. 27, No. 1: 144-152
Immunology, a Dubious Ally of Anthropology? A Comment David Napier's "Nonself Help: How Immunology Might Reframe the Enlightenment"
Anne Marie Moulin
Cultural Anthropology February 2012, Vol. 27, No. 1: 153-161
The Other Who is Also Oneself: Immunological Risk, Danger, and Recognition
Cultural Anthropology February 2012, Vol. 27, No. 1: 162-167
The Viral Intimacies of Ethnographic Encounters: Prolegomenon to a Thought Experiment in the Play of Metaphors
George E. Marcus
Cultural Anthropology February 2012, Vol. 27, No. 1: 168-174
Immunology and the Between
Cultural Anthropology February 2012, Vol. 27, No. 1: 175-180
Articulating Potentiality: Notes on the Delineation of the Blank Figure in Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Mette N. Svendsen
Cultural Anthropology, November 2011, Vol. 26, No. 3: 414-447
Making Time for the Children: Self-Temporalization and the Cultivation of the Antisuicidal Subject in South India
Jocelyn Lim Chua
Cultural Anthropology February 2011, Vol. 26, No. 1: 112-137
Viral Clouds: Becoming H5N1 in Indonesia
Cultural Anthropology November 2010, Vol. 25, No. 4: 625-649
The Antisocial Profile: Deception and Intimacy in Greek Psychiatry
Elizabeth Anne Davis
Cultural Anthropology Feb. 2010, Vol. 25, No. 1: 130-164
On the Trail of Living Modified Organisms: Environmentalism Within and Against Neoliberal Order
Cultural Anthropology Nov. 2009, Vol. 24, No. 4: 712-745
Suicide, Risk, and Investment in the Heart of the African Miracle
Cultural Anthropology Nov. 2009, Vol. 24, No. 4: 652-680
THE ELEGIAC ADDICT: History, Chronicity, and the Melancholic Subject
Cultural Anthropology Nov. 2008, Vol. 23, No. 4: 718-746
INCITEMENTS TO DISCOURSE: Illicit Drugs, Harm Reduction, and the Production of Ethnographic Subjects
Nancy D. Campbell
Susan J. Shaw
Cultural Anthropology Nov. 2008, Vol. 23, No. 4: 688-717
THE HUMANITARIAN POLITICS OF TESTIMONY: Subjectification through Trauma in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Cultural Anthropology August 2008, Vol. 23, No. 3: 531-558
The Generic Biothreat, or, How We Became Unprepared
Cultural Anthropology Aug 2008, Vol. 23, No. 3: 399-428.
An Acoustic Register, Tenacious Images, and Congolese Scenes of Rape and Repetition
Nancy Rose Hunt
Cultural Anthropology May 2008, Vol. 23, No. 2: 220-253.
Post-Pasteurian Cultures: The Microbiopolitics of Raw-Milk Cheese in the United States
Cultural Anthropology Feb 2008, Vol. 23, No. 1: 15-47.
Four Genealogies for a Recombinant Anthropology of Science and Technology
Michael M.J. Fischer
Cultural Anthropology Nov 2007, Vol. 22, No. 4: 539-615.
S. Lochlann Jain
Cultural Anthropology Nov 2007, Vol. 22, No. 4: 501-538.
Good Gifts for the Common Good: Blood and Bioethics in the Market of Genetic Research
Deepa S. Reddy
Cultural Anthropology Aug 2007, Vol. 22, No. 3: 429-472.
Bioethnic Conscription: Genes, Race, and Mexicana/o Ethnicity in Diabetes Research
Michael J. Montoya
Cultural Anthropology Feb 2007, Vol. 22, No. 1: 94-128.
Culture and Cultural Analysis as Experimental Systems
Michael M.J. Fischer
Cultural Anthropology Feb 2007, Vol. 22, No. 1: 1-65.
Fluid Labor and Blood Money: The Economy of HIV/AIDS in Rural Central China
Cultural Anthropology Nov 2006, Vol. 21, No. 4: 535-569.
Learning from New Orleans: The Social Warrant of Hostile Privatism and Competitive Consumer Citizenship
Cultural Anthropology Aug 2006, Vol. 21, No. 3: 451-468.
Cultural Anthropology Aug 2005, Vol. 20, No. 3: 362-387.
Doctors, Borders, and Life in Crisis
Cultural Anthropology Aug 2005, Vol. 20, No. 3: 328-361.
Biopolitical Beijing: Pleasure, Sovereignty, and Self-Cultivation in China's Capital
Judith Farquhar, Qicheng Zhang
Cultural Anthropology Aug 2005, Vol. 20, No. 3: 303-327.
Love's Labor Paid for: Gift and Commodity at the Threshold of Death
Ann Julienne Russ
Cultural Anthropology Feb 2005, Vol. 20, No. 1: 128-155.
Mutant Ecologies: Radioactive Life in Post–Cold War New Mexico
Cultural Anthropology Nov 2004, Vol. 19, No. 4: 517-550.
Development without Institutions: Ersatz Medicine and the Politics of Everyday Life in Rural North India
Cultural Anthropology Aug 2004, Vol. 19, No. 3: 337-364.
Bovine Abominations: Genetic Culture and Politics in the Netherlands
Cultural Anthropology Aug 2004, Vol. 19, No. 3: 305-336.
Traces of Folk Medicine in Jaunpur
Jean M. Langford
Cultural Anthropology Aug 2003, Vol. 18, No. 3: 271-303.
Authorizing a Disability Agency in Post-Mao China: Deng Pufang's Story as Biomythography
Cultural Anthropology Feb 2003, Vol. 18, No. 1: 99-131.
The Sacred in the Scientific: Ambiguous Practices of Science in Tibetan Medicine
Cultural Anthropology Nov 2001, Vol. 16, No. 4: 542-575.
Languages of Sex and AIDS in Nepal: Notes on the Social Production of Commensurability
Stacy Leigh Pigg
Cultural Anthropology Nov 2001, Vol. 16, No. 4: 481-541.
Does It Take a Miracle? Negotiating Knowledges, Identities, and Communities of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Cultural Anthropology Nov 2001, Vol. 16, No. 4: 453-480.
Stumped Identities: Body Image, Bodies Politic, and the Mujer Maya as Prosthetic
Diane M. Nelson
Cultural Anthropology Aug 2001, Vol. 16, No. 3: 314-353.
The Poetics of "Madness": Shifting Codes and Styles in the Linguistic Construction of Identity in Matlab, Bangladesh
James M. Wilce
Cultural Anthropology Feb 2000, Vol. 15, No. 1: 3-34.
Technologies of Everyday Life: The Economy of Impotence in Reform China
Cultural Anthropology May 1999, Vol. 14, No. 2: 155-179.
Searching for "Voices": Feminism, Anthropology, and the Global Debate over Female Genital Operations
Christine J. Walley
Cultural Anthropology Aug 1997, Vol. 12, No. 3: 405-438.
Meat and Strength: The Moral Economy of a Chilean Food Riot
Benjamin S. Orlove
Cultural Anthropology May 1997, Vol. 12, No. 2: 234-268.
Training Tales: U. S. Medical Autobiography
Cultural Anthropology Aug 1996, Vol. 11, No. 3: 339-361.
The Credible and the Credulous: The Question of "Villagers' Beliefs" in Nepal
Stacy Leigh Pigg
Cultural Anthropology May 1996, Vol. 11, No. 2: 160-201.
Culture as Cure
Cultural Anthropology Feb 1996, Vol. 11, No. 1: 3-24.
Ayurvedic Interiors: Person, Space, and Episteme in Three Medical Practices
Cultural Anthropology Aug 1995, Vol. 10, No. 3: 330-366.
Preserving Indian Culture: Shaman Schools and Ethno-Education in the Vaupes, Colombia
Cultural Anthropology Aug 1995, Vol. 10, No. 3: 302-329.
Social Body and Embodied Subject: Bodiliness, Subjectivity, and Sociality among the Kayapo
Cultural Anthropology May 1995, Vol. 10, No. 2: 143-170.
Gender, Genetics, and Generation: Reformulating Biology in Lesbian Kinship
Corinne P. Hayden
Cultural Anthropology Feb 1995, Vol. 10, No. 1: 41-63.
Eating Chinese Medicine
Cultural Anthropology Nov 1994, Vol. 9, No. 4: 471-497.
Medical Magic and Medicinal Cure: Manipulating Meanings with Ease of Disease
Laurence Marshall Carucci
Cultural Anthropology May 1993, Vol. 8, No. 2: 157-168.
Somatic Modes of Attention
Thomas J. Csordas
Cultural Anthropology May 1993, Vol. 8, No. 2: 135-156.
The Body of One Color: Indian Wrestling, the Indian State, and Utopian Somatics
Joseph S. Alter
Cultural Anthropology Feb 1993, Vol. 8, No. 1: 49-72.
Indigenous Media: Faustian Contract or Global Village?
Cultural Anthropology Feb 1991, Vol. 6, No. 1: 92-112.
Welfare, the Social, and the Individual in Interwar Italy
David G. Horn
Cultural Anthropology Nov 1988, Vol. 3, No. 4: 395-407.
Microparasites and Macroparasites
Peter J. Brown
Cultural Anthropology Feb 1987, Vol. 2, No. 1: 155-171.
Divergence between Cultural Success and Reproductive Fitness in Preindustrial Cities
Bruce M. Knauft
Cultural Anthropology Feb 1987, Vol. 2, No. 1: 94-114.