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Anthropology; Illness and Healing

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CMA believes that disease is beyond the scope of the anthropologist. It is a social issue as much as it is biological. Organic, climatic and geographic conditions as well as productive activities, resources and reproduction change the features of the illness in significant ways from one nation to another (Singer, 2004, p 26). CMA believes that illness is not just due to a pathogen.experiential conditions must be eliminated. Malnutrition, economic insufficiency, risks of jobs, pollution, poor housing and absence of political leanings or clout make one susceptible to illness (Baer, Singer and Johnsen, 1986). CMA in short considers microparasitism (the pathogens, malfunctions and behaviours) as important as macroparasitism (social exploitations). Conventional medical anthropology sees an illness superficially while CMA notices the social and other aspects of why an illness occurred and even how it could have been prevented.The concept of syndemics was introduced by CMA in the 1990s. It is the ‘big picture’ approach to illness which include factors like biology, epidemiology, understanding the illness in the sufferer’s eyes and the community view, and the social, political and economic conditions contributing to it (Singer, 1996). The conventional medical anthropology tends to isolate, study and treat illnesses. The CMA on the other hand tries to understand the social and biological aspects as they stand within the inequalities of society. Syndemic is a term now used by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and implies two or more epidemics which interact within the human bodies and contribute excessively to disease or the consequences of health from two coinciding illnesses (Singer, 2004, p 27). HIV can co-exist with Mycobacterium tuberculosis worsening the pathology and accelerating the progression of illness. Living in shelters, prisons, domestic violence, political violence, racial discrimination and living in poverty are some of the social conditions emphasized as pathology (Farmer, 1999). The immune system of these patients would be in a compromised state. Some researchers have assessed the social factors being of greater importance than the pathogens themselves. The challenge is greater but tackling the disease with this broad perspective could produce better results.Sufferer experience is also different in CMA. This is how an ill person has his illness or distress manifested. The concept of ‘mindful
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preview essay on Anthropology; Illness and Healing
  • Pages: 6 (1500 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Unsorted
  • Level: Ph.D.
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