Medical Anthropology and the World System

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Medical anthropology is one of the youngest and most dynamic of anthropology's various subdisciplines. Critical medical anthropology has evolved into one of the major perspectives through which faculty and students study the field. It examines health-related issues in precapitalist indigenous and state societies, capitalist societies, and postrevolutionary of socialist-oriented societies. While critical medical anthropology draws heavily on neo-Marxian, critical, and world systems theoretical perspectives, it attempts to incorporate the theoretical contributions of other systems in medical anthropology, including biocultural or medical ecology, ethnomedical approaches, cultural constructivism, poststructuralism, and postmodernism. This is the first textbook to incorporate this perspective.

The first part of the book is a discussion of the central concepts in, and the development and scope of, medical anthropology, as well as the critical perspective employed. The second part explores health and the environment, as well as the social origins of specific health problems. A third part highlights the diversity of medical systems in different societies, and a fourth part argues for a merger of theory and social action.

 

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Contents

Medical Anthropology Central Concepts and Development
3
Theoretical Perspectives in Medical Anthropology
31
The Social Origins of Disease and Suffering
55
Health and the Environment From Foraging Societies to the Capitalist World System
57
Homelessness in the World System
83
Legal Addictions Part I Demon in a Bottle
97
Legal Addictions Part II Up in Smoke
143
Illicit Drugs SelfMedicating the Hidden Injuries of Oppression
169
Reproduction and Inequality
283
Medical Systems in Social Context
305
Medical Systems in Indigenous and Precapitalist State Societies
307
Biomedical Hegemony in the Context of Medical Pluralism
329
Toward an Equitable and Healthy Global System
353
The Pursuit of Health as a Human Right Health Praxis and the Struggle for a Healthy World
355
Bibliography
383
Index
425

AIDS A Disease of the Global System
227

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About the author (2003)

HANS A. BAER is in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Gerontology at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. MERRILL SINGER is Associate Director and Chief of Research at the Hispanic Health Council in Hartford, Connecticut. IDA SUSSER is Professor of Anthropology at Hunter College, City University of New York.

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