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Cultural Anthropology

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Through week 9 of Cultural Anthropology, our subject involved health and illness. I feel this topic is one of the most important throughout the entire book because it pertains to literally everyone. Health and illness is brought into examination through a variety of questions throughout this chapter. For instance, Guest presents the question of how does culture shape our ideas of health and illness? Furthermore, while reading through Guest’s chapter, I came to a better understanding of how health and illness does not just involve one individual. Cultural has a tremendous role in the outcome of individual’s health, illness, and wellbeing. To essentially dive into Chapter 14 of, “Cultural Anthropology” I first took a close look on how culture…show more content…
However, I found many vexing and fascinating facts and topics that I did not know. For instance, health is not just the clearing or vanishment of disease and sickness, but it is in fact the complete physical, mental, and social well-being. Interestingly enough, these factors are quite rare all together. But then I decided to look back at my personal health and the environment and culture I live in. I maintain both a health diet and physical state. In addition, my environment is very drawn to the idea of clean and healthy lifestyle. But does that make me and my culture “perfectly” healthy. This is where medical anthropologists jump in. I found through this chapter that a medical anthropologist is not like any other individual who practices medicine in their profession. Rather, medical anthropologist collect, translate, and make a significant effort to document healing practices and health systems around our world. While medical anthropologist collect important data, they also discover how cultures treat their ill and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Guest states,…show more content…
Though it is “discrete” and “natural identity”, it can be very difficult to treat and possibly cure. Many cultures have different ways to cure diseases. The term “ethnomedicine” stood out to me while reading. Ethnomedicine is defined as the involvement with comparative study of local systems of health and healing rooted in culturally specific norms and values. In addition, it involves the the was locally rooted cultures create unique strategies for identifying and possibly even curing diseases that were spread amongst the society. In addition to ethnomedicine, another important term that stood out to me while reading was “ethnopharmacology”. Ethnopharmacology is essentially a documentation of what locals use to heal their sick and ill. These healing remedies are comprised of natural substances, such as herbs, powders, teas, and animal products. What I find most interesting about this particular way of healing a treating the sick and ill is, most Western biomedicine used is considered to be a form of ethnomedicine. In fact, Guest states, “Today medical anthropologists use the concept of ethnomedicine to refer to local health systems everywhere. (p.400)” Continuing on the subject, there was a very important example that stood out to me through ethnomedicine and
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