24. Medical Anthro

Using the textbook Essentials of Cultural Anthropology, after reading the first part of the chapter on Health, we finished chapter 14.

As we finished the chapter, I asked students to comment on themes raised in the previous class:

Where is the world headed?

  • Are we heading more for a world of healthcare as a human right, where people understand the importance of public health, and there is a recognition of health disparities? Differently put, Will medical anthropology insights be both hot and indispensable?
  • Or are we heading more for a world in which we depend upon and insist upon the biomedical technological fix? Differently put, will people feel that there is no time for anthropology and ethnomedicine, social issues get swept under the rug again, as everyone wants to get a shot and go on a cruise?

How is globalization changing the experience of health and illness and the practice of medicine? (Guest, 425)

In this section, Guest discusses infectious disease and globalization. Although this was written before the coronavirus, what lessons endure? What seems like it needs to be updated?

For an attempt to explore these issues in Intro-to-Anthropology 2021, see Medical Anthropology:


Living Anthropologically means documenting history, interconnection, and power during a time of global transformation. We need to care for others as we attempt to build a world together. This blog is a personal project of Jason Antrosio, author of Fast, Easy, and In Cash: Artisan Hardship and Hope in the Global Economy. For updates, follow on Twitter, watch on YouTube, or subscribe to e-mail list.

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