Medical Anthropology

Module Leader:
Szilvia Zörgő
2016-2017 Autumn
Social Sciences

As a subfield of social anthropology, medical anthropology deals with how various cultures define illness and health, how to treat illness and who can be a healer. Concepts regarding health are intertwined with other areas of culture (concepts of man and world, economy, etc.) and treatments themselves are always embedded in a larger medical system. We will explore how one’s culture influences their perceptions concerning illness, leading to their choice of therapy. We will look at various medical systems, as well as critically examine the culture of Western medicine. Furthermore, we will discuss interpretations of pain and possible mechanisms, functions of the placebo effect. The course will end with an overview of the clinical use of this anthropological subfield and specific examples of applied medical anthropology. There will also be a hands-on research situation (fieldwork), the completion of which is a requirement to the course.

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