The medical anthropology is a subfield of anthropology, a social or cultural field. It is the translation into Castilian and term of medical anthropology which is serving since 1963. It is identifying label for empirical research and the production of theory by anthropologists on the social processes and cultural representations of health, the disease and practices attention or assistance related to it? In Spain it is also used as “anthropology of medicine”, “anthropology of health” or “anthropology of disease.”
In Europe, the term “medical anthropology topics” was used occasionally during the 20th century to designate the philosophical study of health and illness.
Disciplinary relations between anthropology, the medicine and medical practice can be documented for medical anthropology. The natural look of Medicine, introduced by the Hippocratic paper developed a theory of causation of disease related to the environment and a methodology that included the study of clinical cases – for example in the Treaty epidemics along with ethnographic methodologies in nature – the Treaty Aires, Water and Places. The influence of the Hippocratic esceritos explains that the medicine used until the late nineteenth century, qualitative field techniques, practiced participant observation and produce a huge volume of ethnographic writings – ethnography – as this was also part of their practice. The general Anthropology occupied an important position in the basic medical sciences (corresponding to the subjects now commonly called pre-clinical).
Â As the medicine was enclosing the medical education in the hospital and adopted a reticent attitude against the empiricism of the doctors in their everyday practice in the crowd and took the experimental drug in the hospital and the laboratory as its basic source of knowledge, doctors were leaving the ethnography of use. This neglect takes place when social anthropology takes the ethnography as one of their professional identity and was abandoning the initial draft of general anthropology. The divergence between professional anthropology and medicine did mean never, complete excision between the two. During the twentieth century are consistent interdisciplinary relations between the two disciplines to the formation of medical anthropology in the sixties of 20th century.
So much so that many medical anthropologists come from the health professions (nursing, psychology, psychiatry, medicine). Among doctors are WHR Rivers , Jean Benoist , Gonzalo Aguirre Beltran , Cecil Helman and Arthur Kleinman , many others come from the social sciences and George Foster , William Caudill , Byron Good , Tullio Seppilli , Gilles Bibeau , Lluis Mallart , Andras Zempleni , Gilbert Lewis , Ronald Frankenberg , Els van Dongen and Eduardo Menendez . A summary in Castilian on the development of medical anthropology is Comelles & Martinez (1993) and Martinez (2008).
Folk Medicine and Medical Systems
Doctors and anthropologists have shared the notion of folk medicine, traditional or folk – English folk medicine -.it is agreed with this concept to describe the resources that the European or Latin American peasants used to solve their health problems apart from the health professionals or health practices of indigenous peoples in different parts of the world with special emphasis on knowledge ethnobotanical. These are essential to isolate alkaloids and active drug. The study of the rituals of popular therapies show that were used to discuss, in the West, both the relations between science and religion, as psychopathological categories. The doctors did not intend the concept of folk medicine build anthropological concept, but a medical concept that will be useful to establish with scientific, cultural boundaries of biomedicine.
The folk medicine – as well as traditional medicine or domestic medicine was for them particular cultural trait specific human groups distinct from the universal practice of biomedicine. If each culture had its specific popular medicine, and this was set from the general cultural traits of that culture, could be proposed the existence of as many doctors as cultures, and develop a comparative study of them. A medical systems of Aboriginal societies in which they could not prove the syncretic features of European folk medicine were called primitive medicine or pre-technical as to make reference to current aboriginal cultures or pre-classical Greece. At their disposal a corpus of documents such as Tibetan, traditional Chinese or Ayurvedic sometimes are called systemic medications. A comparative study of medical systems called ethno medicine or ethno psychiatry, depending on whether somatic medicine or psychiatry. However, the concept of medical system as a specific product of the cultural history of each ethnic group is now questioned. Within this conception, scientific biomedicine would be a medical system and is therefore a cultural form that can be studied as such. This position, self-sustained cultural relativism cultural anthropology allowed the debate to medicine and psychiatry around some key issues:
- The debate over the relative influence of genotype and phenotypic factors related to personality and certain forms of pathology, especially psychiatric and psychosomatic.
- The discussion on the influence of culture in what is considered normal, pathological or abnormal.
- Verification in different cultures of the universality of the nosological categories of biomedicine and psychiatry.
- The identification and description of diseases of specific cultures previously described by the Clinical called ethnic disorders ( ethnic disorders ) and more recently culturally defined syndromes ( culture bound syndromes ) as the evil eye or tarantism in the European peasantry The possession and trance states in many cultures, and the nerves , or premenstrual syndrome in Western societies.
Applied Medical Anthropology
In the United States, Canada, Mexico and Brazil collaboration between anthropology and medicine had to do with the initial deployment of community health programs in ethnic and cultural minorities and ethnographic evaluation cualitativas.de health institutions-hospitals, mental hospitals and primary care services. In the first case was to solve the problems of implementing the provision of services to a complex mosaic of ethnic groups, in the second, analysis of conflicts within the institutions interestamentales: especially among physicians, nurses, support staff and government personnel who had undesirable effects on the administrative reorganization and institutional objectives. Ethnographic reports showed that the crisis had a direct impact on interestamentales criteria and therapeutic care for the sick. They also provided new methodological criteria to evaluate new institutions arising from the reforms and experiments care as therapeutic communities.
The ethnographic evidence sustained criticism of the custodial institution and contributed decisively to the policies of deinstitutionalization of psychiatric care and social development in general. In some countries like Italy they rethink of the guidelines on education and health promotion.
The empirical answers to these questions led to the incorporation of anthropologists in health programs and international community in developing countries, the evaluation of the influence of social and cultural variables in the epidemiology of certain forms of psychiatric disorders (transcultural psychiatry) in studies of cultural resistance to the introduction of innovations and therapeutic care, in studies on traditional healers, traditional healers and birth attendants (TBAs) can be recycled as health (so-called barefoot doctors
Also since the sixties, in the developed, biomedicine is facing a number of problems that require review so-called predisposing factors of social or cultural nature , reduced to mere quantitative variables in protocols, and subject to causal interpretations matrix biological or genetic. These should be highlighted:
a) The transition between pervasive patterns of infectious disease to an acute contagious disease pattern based on chronic degenerative diseases without a specific etiologic treatment.
b) The emergence of the need to develop devices and strategies for long-term care, therapeutic interventions against incisive.
c) The influence of concepts such as quality of life in relation to conventional therapeutic approaches in biomedicine.
At about associated problems associated with deployment of community health devices that evolve from the first phase they are perceived as tools to combat inequalities in access to health services to a new situation in which an offer once deployed integral to the emerging population problems of ethnic, cultural, religious, age group, gender or social class.
If the former is associated with the deployment of the community care, another effect arises occurs when the dismantling of the same with the return to the particular responsibility in this regard.
In all these areas of character ethnographic research quality and local are indispensable for understanding the way patients and their social networks incorporate knowledge about health and disease in a context in which their experience is colored by cultural influences derived complex characteristics social relations in advanced societies and the weight of the media, particularly the audiovisual and advertising.