Medical Anthology Essays

Medical Anthology Essays

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Health and illness are areas that have always preoccupied human minds since they have a social as well as a biological basis. Western medical beliefs and practices have come to displace fork and traditional beliefs since it seeks to control this phenomenon through scientific and technical regulation of the body, unlike the traditional beliefs which viewed illnesses on sociological grounds.
The Azande people who live in southern Sudan are a traditional society which believes in existence of ancestral spirits and witchcraft. Witchcraft which was believed to be a mystic and inborn power was possessed by few members of the community. These forces control their world view on different issues including health and illnesses. In this community, illnesses like other misfortunes are caused by witchcraft. Witcraft among the Azande community according to Pritchard helped them to explain issues in the traditional society that science does now. This belief in witchcraft for instance, explains why an individual caught a disease or illness. Even if an Azande member knew that the disease he or he is suffering from, he/she would suspect witchcraft blaming it on the enemies around the person.
Balinese people who live in a small island in Indonesia also practices traditional medicine in place of the modern treatment of illnesses. According to this community illness is as a result of lack of balance between the individual internal, external environment and divine nature. When treating any illness therefore, the traditional healer emphasizes on the sick person’s mental, emotional, and physical condition. The healing also demands that the sick person be fully willing to be well. These traditional healers often known as Balian Tapakan receive their...


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...fend their theories and beliefs about certain illnesses (Horton 1970).



Reference List:
Connor, L.H. 1996. Balinese Healing. In L.H. Connor, P Asch and T Asch Jero Takapan: Balinese Healer. Los Angeles: University of California, Ethnographics Press. Chapter 3.
Evans-Pritchard, E.E. 1937. The Notion of Witchcraft Explains Unfortunate Events. In Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Pp.63-83. Chapter IV.
Parsons, T. 1951. The Social System. Glencoe, IL: The Free Press. Retrieved From http://www.enotes.com/public-health encyclopedia/illness-sick-role-behavior
Horton R. l970. "African Traditional Thought and Western Science." In B. Wilson, ed. Rationality, NY: Harper and Row, pp. l3l-l7l.7
Nettleton, Sarah .1995. The Sociology of Health and Illness, Polity Press. Retrieved From: http://csp.sagepub.com/content/16/48/33.abstract

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