Medicine, Rationality and Experience

Medicine, Rationality and Experience : An Anthropological Perspective

4.33 (57 ratings by Goodreads)
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Biomedicine is often thought to provide a scientific account of the human body and of illness. In this view, non-Western and folk medical systems are regarded as systems of 'belief' and subtly discounted. This is an impoverished perspective for understanding illness and healing across cultures, one that neglects many facets of Western medical practice and obscures its kinship with healing in other traditions. Drawing on his research in several American and Middle Eastern medical settings, in this 1993 book Professor Good develops a critical, anthropological account of medical knowledge and practice. He shows how physicians and healers enter and inhabit distinctive worlds of meaning and experience. He explores how stories or illness narratives are joined with bodily experience in shaping and responding to human suffering and argues that moral and aesthetic considerations are present in routine medical practice as in other forms of healing.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 262 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 14mm | 360g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 052142576X
  • 9780521425766
  • 725,425

Back cover copy

Biomedicine is often thought to provide a universal scientific account of the human body and illness. In this view, non-Western and folk medical system are regarded as system of 'belief' and and subtly discounted.
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Table of contents

Preface; 1. Medical anthropology and the problem of belief; 2. Illness representations in medical anthropology: a reading of the field; 3. How medicine constructs its objects; 4. Semiotics and the study of medical reality; 5. The body, illness experience, and the lifeworld: a phenomenological account of chronic pain; 6. The narrative representation of illness; 7. Aesthetics, rationality and medical anthropology.
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Review quote

"The book reflects more than two decades of Good's work as a researcher, writer, and teacher....offers an excellent overview of some of the controversies in medical anthropology today and provides ample ammunition for those who would demonstrate the field's relevance to the practice of medicine. Medicine, Rationality, and Experience is essential reading for anyone interested in the common ground between the medical and social sciences. The determined reader will be rewarded with a wealth of insight relevant to clinical practice, research, and teaching." New England Journal of Medicine "The book critically explores the history of anthropology's relation to biomedicine and various phases in the emergence of medical anthropology as a discipline....This is an accessible work based on public lectures and makes no assumptions about prior knowledge, but includes the usual scholarly paraphernalia....I recommend it for those curious about the intellectual landscape surrounding the awesome ramparts of biomedicine." Gene Feder, The Lancet "Medical anthropologists and anthropologists in other subdisciplines will find Medicine, Rationality, and Experience satisfying because of Good's historical treatment of theoretical developments in the field and his imaginative reconfiguring of a phenomenology of medical practices. This book will also be of interest to physicians and other health care providers, social scientists, philosophers, and medical humanists concerned and curious about the social construction of illness, suffering, and medical knowledge....His arguments and his illustrations are compelling and thought-provoking. As in the past, Professor Good reminds us once again of the transformative power of the individual and the social imaginations in the context of illness and disease." Patricia A. Marshall, Academic Medicine
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Rating details

57 ratings
4.33 out of 5 stars
5 47% (27)
4 39% (22)
3 14% (8)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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