This reader provides both fascinating comparative ethnographic detail and a theoretical framework for organizing and interpreting information about health. While there are many health-related fields represented in this book, its core discipline is medical anthropology and its main focus is the comparative approach. Cross-cultural comparison gives anthropological analysis breadth while the evolutionary time scale gives it depth. These two features have always been fundamental to anthropology and continue to distinguish it among the social sciences. A third feature is the in-depth knowledge of culture produced by anthropological methods such as participant-observation, involving long-term presence in and research among a study population.
The first part of the book explores healing systems in different cultures; the second and third provide a strong grounding in evolutionary and culture-oriented analysis, making clear the connections between biology and culture as they affect health; the final part emphasizes case studies that apply the theoretical principles presented earlier to particular health topics.
For medical anthropology, medical sociology, public health, nursing, and medical training professionals.