anthro medic

Random Anthropology Stuff

I’m studying for my Anthropology final tomorrow and one way I study is copying my notes down on paper and/or on a virtual document. So I thought I’d use Tumblr to write down some of my notes while also sharing with you guys some random Anthropology stuff.

Enjoy!


Medical Anthropology

  • It’s the study of health, illness, and healing across the range of human societies and over the course of human experience, with an emphasis on how members of the community direct their behaviors, articulate their ideas, and organize their resources in these realms.
  • Medicine: Any and all practices that are intended to address or alleviate what a given group of people consider to be an affliction in need of attention.
  • Biomedicine: The medicine of hospitals and mainstream doctors of the industrialized world.
  • Health: A dynamic condition combining individuals, society, and an adaption to the environment.
  • Sickness: diseases and illnesses
    • disease: a condition that is objectively identified with a medical label or diagnostic name, based on externally established signs. 
    • illness: the more subjective perception of the individual experience of suffering.
  • All medical systems, including our own, are shaped by culture.
  • Two Broad Divisions in Medical Anthro: biocultural and cultural
    • biocultural approaches: an anthropological view of the ways in which people adapt to their environment and change that environment that makes healthy conditions better or worse.
    • cultural approaches: emphasizes the role of ideas, beliefs, and values in creating systems of illness classification and medical programs for curing.

Language

  • Human communication by means of shared symbols which can be linguistic or non-linguistic 
  • No one is intrinsically superior (no language is better than another)
  • Sociolinguistics: the study of linguistic diversity; looks at language in its social context, examining relationships between social and linguistic variation.
    • style shifts: how you may talk to your boss vs. how you may talk to your best friend.
  • Gender differences: there is a linguistic variation between men and women.
    • Women are more likely to speak Standard English
    • Language reflects position of power
    • Women end sentences with an intonation of uncertainty. 
  • Linguistic variation reflects social, political, and economic forces
  • “Proper Langauge” is a strategic resource
  • Black English Vernacular (BEV): Ebonics is a systematic and rule-governed linguistic system.
    • there was a national debate about it in the mid-1990s
    • Standard English is not superior to BEV as a linguistic system, but they do have different prestige
  • Sign language: a complex, culture-laden system of communication.
    • a manual communication to convey words and thoughts.

Social Inequality and Control

  • Social Stratified Societies: contain social groups that have unequal access to important advantages.
    • economic resources
    • power
    • prestige
  • Egalitarian: contain no social stratification
    • bands or tribes
    • tribes have “Big Men”
    • no differential access to power, prestige, or economic resources
      • same opportunity to gain prestige through sharing
      • same access to hunting areas
      • etc.
    • men hunt and women gather
    • younger men/women provide food and older men/women carry the myths and wisdom
    • the ecological base of hunters and gathers and tribes leads to an egalitarian society
      • must share - cannot hoard
      • everyone dependent on the other for survival
      • cooperation essential between members
      • environment dictates cooperation and sharing
  • Rank Societies: usually are agricultural or herding societies.
    • primarily found in chiefdoms
    • chiefs are different from “Big Men” in many ways
      • this position is ascribed even though it’s still kin-based
      • chiefs are full-time political specialists in charge of economic production, distribution, and consumption
    • slight inequality regarding prestige (aka @ the ascribed role)
    • Ecological base:
      • larger and more sedentary
      • have a surplus - can save up
      • have redistribution from different ecological areas
      • still kinship
  • Class Societies: unequal access to power, prestige, and economic resources.
    • found with states
    • Ecological base:
      • extremely sedentary and have large populations
      • much surplus
      • extreme specialization
      • nucleation, centralization of power, and diversification of labor
  • Social Control in Kin-Based Societies: social control is the responsibility of the kin groups.
    • kin act as mediators
    • personal intervention
  • Social Control in Class-Based Societies: punishment meant to be impartial and impersonal
    • more formalized
  • Four Types of Social Control: law, gossip and ridicule, witchcraft, and the threat of the supernatural.
    • law: a social norm whose violation is punishable by threat of or application of physical force by a legitimate official or body
      • focus is on harmony
      • not necessarily codified
    • gossip and ridicule: found in all societies and is especially important in kin-based groups
    • witchcraft: used to harm other people
    • supernatural: fear of punishment (hell, karma, etc.)
  • Power of the States: coercive powers, hegemony, appeasement, the anthropological other.
    • hegemony: the power of solidarity of the state as created by the consent of the governed.
      • it is in a stratified social order in which subordinates comply with the domination by internalizing its values and accepting its “naturalness”
      • the positive outcomes of development and “progress” are highlighted
      • the costs and inequalities are masked
      • often promises are made - “if you are patient, the costs of progress will eventually pay off”
      • often is it wrongly assumed that those suffering from inequalities are really to blame or that they just need to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”
    • appeasement: an industrial class base society gives the basic necessities to the poor/needy; meant to help control.
    • the anthropological “other”: lack power, legitimacy, and validity
      • their knowledge is dismissed
      • suffer from cultural poverty
      • dichotomy of otherness leads to mistreatment of the “other

Religion and Worldview

  • Religion: the belief in the supernatural and behavior for dealing with it; whether that power is forces, gods, spirits, ghosts, or demons.
    • religion is a cultural universal
  • Supernatural: power believed to be not human or not subject to the laws of nature.
  • Probably dates back to the time of Neanderthal (religion)
  • Not all religions have a belief in a god or gods
  • Why is Religion a Cross-Cultural Universal? - Some Theories…
    • the need to understand: religion originates in people’s speculation about dreams, trances, and death
      • animism: belief that there is a physical body separate from a soul
      • Tylor’s student argues instead for animatism
      • animatism: the belief in impersonal, supernatural forces
    • reversion to childhood feelings: we look to religion to fulfill the role that our parents filled when we were children
      • all knowing and all powerful
    • anxiety and uncertainty: we turn to religion during times of anxiety and uncertainty.
    • the need for community: focus is on social needs
      • religious beliefs and practices affirm a person's’ place in society, enhance feelings of community, and give people confidence
  • Types of Supernatural Forces and Beings:
    • mana: a supernatural force that is impersonal and is thought to inhabit some objects, people, or animals, but not others
    • taboo: persons, objects, animals, or places that are not to be touched because their power can cause harm
    • gods: supernatural beings with non-human origins and are named personalities
    • ghosts and ancestor spirits: supernatural beings that may act in a guardian way doing good deeds
      • others act in mischief
      • they were once human
      • were born of a human woman
  • Structure of Supernatural:
    • monotheistic religions: have one supreme or high god with other lesser supernatural beings
      • the gods/spirits are ranked in power and prestige
      • ex: Christianity and Islam
    • polytheistic religions: recognize many important gods with no one supreme god
      • ex: Ancient Rome, Greek, Egyptian, Mayan religions
  • Non-Western Worldview
    • can’t separate natural and supernatural
    • equality between humans and their environment
    • personalized relationship between spirits, nature, and humans
    • power is manipulated through ritual
    • nothing happens by chance
    • based on origin narratives
  • All humans engage in rituals 
  • Ways of Interacting With the Supernatural:
    • prayer: asking for supernatural help; can take many forms
    • altering the body or mind: i.e. Yanomamo use of ebene, Native Americans and peyote, Native Americans and vision quests, and Kung San drumming and dancing
    • trance: common altered state, can be possession trances
    • stimulation: where one thing stands for something else; black magic voodoo
    • divination: getting the supernatural force to provide guidance
    • sacred meal(s)
    • sacrifice: some of value is given up to the gods, whether is be food, animals, or people
  • Magic:
    • magic vs. prayer:
      • magic- compelling
      • praying- pleading/asking
    • sorcery and witchcraft: both invoke the spirits to work harm against people
      • sorcery: may include the use of material, objects, and medicines to invoke the supernatural malevolence 
      • witchcraft: accomplishes the same ills as sorcery but by means of thought and emotion alone
      • Most seen in societies as a social control when the population is far too large for gossip and ridicule and when the population is much too small for judges, juries, and police
  • Ritual: a repetitive social practice composed of a sequence of symbolic activities in the form of dance, song, speech, gestures, or the manipulation of objects, adhering to a cultrually defined ritual schema and closely connected to a specific set of ideas that are often encoded in myth.
    • four elements to rituals: repetition, set off from everyday life, adheres to culturally defined ritual schema, and connected to ideas encoded in a myth
  • Rites of Passage: going from one status to another
    • a ritual that serves to mark the movement and transformation of an individual from one social position to another
    • three stages: separation, transition, reaggregation

anonymous asked:

What's the best book you've read lately? And what's your favorite anthro book?

Well I’ve really only read one book lately, and it’s very good: Fields of Combat by Erin P. Finley. It’s a medical anthro take on PTSD in veterans returning from combat in the Middle East. I highly recommend it. (For fun I usually read fantasy like Terry Pratchett and Jim Butcher, just so y’all know I do have fun sometimes lol.)

As for my favorite anthro book, that’s a tough one since most of my books are more technical manuals and I’ve only read excerpts of cultural theory books. One I really liked though was Righteous Dopefiend by Bourgois and Shonberg. It’s about heroin addiction in the homeless of San Francisco and brings in all kinds of great theory from writers like Bourdieu and Foucault (I’m always a slut for Foucault).

Next I’ll be flipping through Digging for the Disappeared and Disturbing Bodies, both of which examine the forensic anthropologist’s role not only in recovering, identifying, and repatriating remains from genocide and war crimes, but how we relate to and work with the survivors. I’ll be reporting back on those once I make some headway.

Might as well just upload this here too

First I hated this jacket and used it as a joke but now I can’t imagine my medic wearing anything else. Doc’s holiday has gained  a special place in my heart.

anonymous asked:

So I have a question about medical anthro and biological anthro? What exactly is the difference between the two? And is there such a thing as bio-med anthropology or a bio-med anthropologist? Thank you!

Medical anthro is really cool, and I wish I were personally equipped for it.  As a bioanthropologist I have chosen to specialize in modern human skeletal biology, but others go into primatology, or medical.

Medical is an intersection between cultural anthro and medicine.  You certainly aren’t required to have an MD, but almost definitely a PhD.  I’m not sure what kind of medical training they have, but they work toward improving world health and access to food, water, and medicine.  They also serve as cultural mediators when during a health crisis where the cultural barrier between the healthcare providers and victims is particularly high (like with the Ebola outbreak - I’m not sure if medical anthropologists got involved in the most recent outbreaks, but it’s sure the place for them).  If you’re interested in a more detailed description, I highly recommend the book Dancing Skeletons by Dr. Kathy Dettwyler (that’s the link).  It is beyond fantastic.  Another one is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.  I haven’t read it yet but I bought it for a class during college that I ended up not taking.  For a closer-to-home perspective, I’ve read some really great chapters from Fields of Combat last semester (keep meaning to go back and finish it, but this semester is kicking my ass).

I don’t think a distinction between medical and bio-med anthro would be necessary.  I feel it’s kind of assumed.  They do a lot of lab work as well.  It’s amazing stuff, and I love reading about it!