Patients and Healers in the Context of Culture (Paperback)

An Exploration of the Borderland between Anthropology, Medicine, and Psychiatry (Comparative Studies of Health Systems and Medical Care #5)

By Arthur Kleinman

University of California Press, 9780520045118, 448pp.

Publication Date: August 17, 1981

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From the Preface, by Arthur Kleinman:
Patients and Healers in the Context of Culture presents a theoretical framework for studying the relationship between medicine, psychiatry, and culture. That framework is principally illustrated by materials gathered in field research in Taiwan and, to a lesser extent, from materials gathered in similar research in Boston. The reader will find this book contains a dialectical tension between two reciprocally related orientations: it is both a cross-cultural (largely anthropological) perspective on the essential components of clinical care and a clinical perspective on anthropological studies of medicine and psychiatry. That dialectic is embodied in my own academic training and professional life, so that this book is a personal statement.
I am a psychiatrist trained in anthropology. I have worked in library, field, and clinic on problems concerning medicine and psychiatry in Chinese culture. I teach cross-cultural psychiatry and medical anthropology, but I also practice and teach consultation psychiatry and take a clinical approach to my major cross-cultural teaching and research involvements. The theoretical framework elaborated in this book has been applied to all of those areas; in turn, they are used to illustrate the theory. Both the theory and its application embody the same dialectic. The purpose of this book is to advance both poles of that dialectic: to demonstrate the critical role of social science (especially anthropology and cross-cultural studies) in clinical medicine and psychiatry and to encourage study of clinical problems by anthropologists and other investigators involved in cross-cultural research.

About the Author

Arthur Michael Kleinman, M.D. is Professor of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard University.