October 20, 2013
Not Strictly Human-centric: themedicalchronicles: tanvicious said: I wonder why medical...

themedicalchronicles:

tanvicious said: I wonder why medical anthropologists don’t get more credit for having a whole academic field dedicated to this already.

You know what, I’m actually not sure, and medical anthro is something I’d really like to further study. Any followers have ideas? I think people actually might not know so much about the field, although there’s so much literature out there about it…

Perhaps while medical anthropologists draw on biology, society, culture and more, studying various aspects of health and illness, people in mainstream media like to see doctors themselves write stories, essays, and narratives, almost as if it defines a physician-patient relationship…

Uh sorry for butting in here, but I heard “medical anthropology” and had to join. Medical Anthropology is still a relatively new field. It’s not considered one of the subfields of anthropology because the subfields have their own central theoretical paradigm whereas medical anthropology uses a wide variety of theoretical perspectives. Unfortunately not everyone agrees on these theories (hence why there’s no central theoretical paradigm) — so it’s better to state that medical anthropology is the application of many different anthropological theories and methods concerning health, medicine, healing, and illness. 

Good thing is, medical anthropology is definitely gaining ground — people are starting to realise the importance of the field. Hopefully in the near future we will hear more about medical anthropology (or, hopefully some of you guys will become medical anthropologists yourselves). Medical anthropology is highly immersed in many other disciplines, so all you paleoanthropology and paleopathology folks can become medical anthropologists. Individuals with particular interest in epidemiology, biology, ecology, ethnomedicine, and public health all do research and work that pertains to (and can become) medical anthropology research. So besides being a relatively new field, many medical anthropological research are also being done under the names and titles of other disciplines.

Thank you for butting in! Here you go folks, more info on medical anthropology, which is still not known about as much because it’s a relatively new field (started to gain prominence from 1960’s?). And a link to an article if you all want to read about it some more: http://www.univie.ac.at/ethnomedicine/PDF/Medical%20Anthropologie.pdf

October 19, 2013

tanvicious said: I wonder why medical anthropologists don’t get more credit for having a whole academic field dedicated to this already.

You know what, I’m actually not sure, and medical anthro is something I’d really like to further study. Any followers have ideas? I think people actually might not know so much about the field, although there’s so much literature out there about it…

Perhaps while medical anthropologists draw on biology, society, culture and more, studying various aspects of health and illness, people in mainstream media like to see doctors themselves write stories, essays, and narratives, almost as if it defines a physician-patient relationship…

August 10, 2012
"While virtues such as compassion, honesty, integrity, altruism, and respect are explicitly valued by the profession, others argue that the medical profession also places a high albeit covert value upon characteristics such as maleness, fierce competitiveness, emotional detachment, aggression, activism and antipathy for weakness. This unresolved tension between objectifying and humanizing forces, or between competence and caring has been described as a feature of medical education and the professional socialization that accompanies it."

Jaye, C., Egan, T & Parker, S. (2006). ‘Do as I say, not as I do’: Medical Education and Foucault’s Normalizing Technologies of Self.Anthropology & MedicineVol. 13, No. 2, August 2006, pp. 141-155. (pp. 143 - 144). (via shrinkrants)

Wow. So I don’t know much about the context this quote came from, but it sounds so interesting that I’m going to go find the article and read it. If you’re interested, here’s the abstract of the paper:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13648470600738450

But in the meantime, what do you all think and feel about this? I get the “fierce competitiveness” and “emotional detachment.” But the “maleness” I’m not so sure of, and isn’t “activism and antipathy for weakness” a paradox?

What do you all think?

(P.S. Go follow shrinkrants too, because he always has interesting posts!)

August 3, 2012
Cheryl Mattingly on generosity as an underground practice in medicine

shrinkrants:

Cheryl Mattingly is an anthropologist who has spent her career studying the culture of occupational therapists who work in large inner city hospitals. This is “exoticizing the domestic” rather than the more traditional cultural anthropology which “domesticates the exotic.” She has a lot to say about the culture of hospitals in general, the politics of class and race in urban hospitals, and the poetics of encounters between professionals and patients. Reading her work gives me hope for the future of medicine. She sees “clinical encounters” as dramas in which each participant is actively and collaboratively making up the lived story of the meaning of what has come before and of what’s possible in the next moment. I am moved by this long paragraph from her book Healing dramas and clinical plots. She is talking about what she has learned in the course of her studies.

“There was more generosity than I was prepared for. I saw small kindnesses rather than life-saving interventions. These went almost unnoticed by the therapists themselves. Generosity and small attentions are not the stuff of the medical chart. Even when something more dramatic (trying to help a despairing person find a reason to stay alive), there is no place to formally record these actions. They are undocumented exchanges, not part of the official purview of the occupational therapist. Therapists personally valued their own kindness and their imaginative capacity to link their interventions to the lives of their patients, but because there is almost no language within biomedical discourse for recognizing and examining exchanges which address the illness experience and because this is not a “reimbursable” part of treatment, the phenomenological aspects of treatment are quite neglected, carried out almost furtively. these attentions to the illness experience constitute an “underground practice” in occupational therapy and doubtless many other health professions. Taking careful note of the narrative structure of clinical interventions reveals “hidden values” within biomedical practice which run counter to the dominant metaphor of body as machine that holds such persuasive force in Western medicine. Put differently, it reveals how some health professionals, some of the time, recognize a physiological body which is inextricable from the imagined and lived body, the body which carries a person through social space and time.”

-Mattingly, Cheryl (1998) Healing dramas and clinical plots: The narrative structure of experience. p 22. Cambridge University Press, New York.

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