On the Relevance of Medical Anthropology - Coursework Example

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The paper "On the Relevance of Medical Anthropology" discusses that medical anthropology is relevant for several reasons. It allows us to see how society responds to the disease or how the disease is a response to a social condition. This way we are able to address a disease or ailment better…
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On the Relevance of Medical Anthropology
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Download file to see previous pages From a medical anthropological perspective, a disease is not simply a result of a pathogen but the result of “social problems such as malnutrition, economic insecurity, occupational risks, industrial and motor-vehicle pollution, bad housing, and political powerlessness” (Baer et al., 2003, p. 6). The conditions mentioned produce vulnerability to the disease or exacerbate an ailment (Baer et al., 2003, p. 6). It is also possible to show that certain diseases are associated with the social structure and social terrain. For example, obesity is a medical condition that is expected to be associated with advanced societies rather than with underdeveloped ones. On the other hand, malnutrition can be associated with low-income societies or communities as well as with the quality and availability of schools and educational institutions.
A branch in anthropology, also known as critical medical anthropology, “attempts to place health and illness within the large context of political economy, history and society” (ANTC61 2012, p. 1). According to ANTC61 (2012, p. 1), a human “illness is not just a biological condition but needs to be understood on the level of the social body and body politic as well as the individual body.” An illness or a medical condition has a social dimension and some illnesses or medical conditions can have strong social dimensions. For example, it may mean that society is not organizationally strong to manage the disease or ailment or that certain values, lifestyles, habits, and similar factors produce the vulnerability or can exacerbate the seriousness of the disease or ailment. Another perspective, known as activist medical anthropology, goes out further and argues that “addressing global inequities” has become a domain of medical anthropology (Butt, 2002, p. 1). In particular, activist medical anthropology covers “the effect of global economic trends and neo-liberal policies on the destitute and the disadvantage, particularly with regard to people’s health and health care programs (Butt, 2002, p. 1).  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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