Medical Anthropology

Medical anthropology is a good example of how anthropologists have been able to relate the natural sciences to the humanities. It is the study of how people in different cultural settings experience health and illness. These experiences are examined in the light of a particular community’s knowledge of disease and misfortune, in relation to broader moral and religious ideas. Recent examples of the types of studies conducted by medical anthropologists include research on the impact of AIDS on Central African societies, the consequences of trauma from the war on families in Sri Lanka and Guatemala, the impact of new reproductive technologies ( eg IVF) on British notions of “the family”,
Currently, medical anthropology is trying to maintain its cultural interest in questions of knowledge, meaning, and politics in the broader discipline of anthropology without simply becoming an “applied” sub-discipline. Graduates who have studied medical anthropology are drawn to careers in international aid and social services, and health professions such as nursing and clinical psychology.

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