Medical anthropology addresses the symbolic, narrative, and ethical dimension of healing, medicine and medical technology in many ways. One way anthropologists address these dimensions is by exploring how local and international communities view wellness, illness, disease and healing through different perspectives. Their goal is to examine how communities are able to function individually as well as to look for themes within the structure and systems of separate communities and cultures. Anthropologists spend a lot of time observing and discussing the theme of treatment within various communities.
The traditional model to exploring treatment is to look towards the biomedical system, which “employ different explanatory models and idioms to make sense of disease and give meaning to the individual and social experience of illness” (Kleinman 1973: 86). The biomedical system often leaves out the social, economical and cultural factors that influence the acceptance and usage of a particular treatment. The acceptance of various treatments depends on the religion and culture of the community. When examining and offering opinions on different treatment options, it is important for doctors and those advising patients to pay attention to the individual’s cultural and religious beliefs.
One example of this would be the introduction and use of the medical technology of in vitro fertilization, or IVF in Egypt. IVF treatments are a relatively new and expensive medical technology, which hold a lot of mystery to those who lack background knowledge of the female reproductive system. Due to this lack of knowledge, the long process is often misunderstood, which leads to prejudice against those who use it to have their children. In Quest for Con...
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...tments and how different views might influence the effectiveness of the treatments. It is important when discussing a treatment or presenting a medical treatment to understand that there are multiple factors affecting how treatments are viewed within society.
Cohen, Lawrence. 1999. Where it Hurts. Pp. 284-299. In A Reader in Medical Anthropology, edited by Bryon Good, Michael Fischer, and Sarah Willen. Malden, MA 02148: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Inhorn, Marcia C. 2006. Quest for Conception. Pp. 319-326. In A Reader in Medical Anthropology, edited by Bryon Good, Michael Fischer, and Sarah Willen. Malden, MA 02148: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Kleinman, Arthur M. 1973. Medicine’s Symbolic Reality. Pp. 85-90. In A Reader in Medical Anthropology, edited by Bryon Good, Michael Fischer, and Sarah Willen. Malden, MA 02148: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.