History of Nutritional Anthropology

The early history of nutritional anthropology dates back to studies of food and social organization in non-industrial societies in the 1930s. The British anthropologist Audrey Richards (1939) is often described as the first one who explicitly focused on food. She studied economic and social factors affecting food among the Bemba in central Africa. Her work was part of the British applied anthropology movement, which was associated with colonial governance and welfare. In the 1940s, studies of...

Conceptions of Medical Pluralism

Various medical anthropologists have formulated various schemes or approaches that recognize the phenomenon of medical pluralism in complex societies. Based upon their cultural ecological settings, Dunn 1976 delineates three types of medical systems 1 local medical systems, 2 regional medical systems, and 3 the cosmopolitan medical system. Local medical systems are folk or indigenous medical systems in foraging, horticultural or pastoral societies, or peasant communities in state societies....

Trance States A Theoretical Model Winkelman

Imagery in healing Shamanism and modern medicine. Boston, MA New Science Library Shambhala. Bird-David, N. 1999 . Animism revisited Personhood, environment and relational epistemology. Current Anthropology, 40, 67-91. Boddy, J. 1994 . Spirit possession revisited Beyond instrumentality. Annual Review of Anthropology, 23, 407-434. Bourguignon, E. 1976 . Possession. San Francisco, CA Chandler and Sharpe. Castillo, R. 1991 . Divided consciousness and enlightenment in Hindu...

Theoretical Orientations and Methods in Nutritional Anthropology

As with other fields of anthropology a wide variety of theoretical perspectives and methods are used in nutritional anthropology. A range of ecological, symbolic, materialist, and political perspectives has been used to explain patterns of food selection, nutritional consequences, and the relationships of nutrition to sociocultural, economic, and ecological processes. What foods people eat and how much they eat are determined not simply by physiological needs, but also by political and...

Anthropology and Biomedicine

Early on, Biomedicine was the reality in terms of which other medical systems, professional or popular, were implicitly compared and evaluated. Like science, Western medicine was assumed to be acultural beyond the influence of culture while all other medical systems were assumed to be so culturally biased that they had little or no scientific relevance (e.g., Foster & Anderson, 1978 Hughes, 1968 Prince, 1964 Simons & Hughes, 1985). Not only did this ideological hegemony devalue local...

An Anthropology of Western Childbirth

The anthropology of Western childbirth has represented a core element in studies of birthing systems from Jordan's comparative research through the 1990s. A consistent theme in this body of research emphasizes that the dominant cultural definition of birth in the United States is a medical one, in which pregnancy is viewed as a pathological state, requiring specialist attention and hospital delivery. Accordingly, the medicalization of childbirth, characterized by use of technological...

Illness Narratives in Anthropology and Beyond

The use of narrative to describe other people's experiences of acute or chronic illness is also something of a growth industry. In the last few years, analyses of patient narratives have been used to explore everything from autism (Gray, 2001) to temporomandibular joint syndrome (Garro, 1994). In between one finds studies of breast cancer (Langellier & Sullivan, 1998), depression (Kangas, 2001), diabetes (Hunt, Valenzuela, & Pugh, 1998 Loewe & Freeman, 2000), HIV (Bloom, 2001 Ezzy,...