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Title:Allopathy Goes Native: Models, Motives and Medicine in Iran
Author(s):Loeffler, Agnes Gertrud
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Lehman, F.K.
Department / Program:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Cultural
Abstract:Cultural influences on the practice of allopathic medicine in the United States have been vastly documented; at the same time, applied medical anthropologists have been working to help implement measures thought by allopathic medicine to improve morbidity and mortality in non-Western settings. In these two bodies of literature, allopathic practice in the United States is portrayed as bound to Western ideologies, while native conceptualizations of health and disease are portrayed as barriers to the institution of effective allopathic practice. These two conceptualizations do not allow us to make sense of the native practitioner of allopathic medicine, however. This person is tied both to Western ideologies, through his/her training and profession, and, through his/her social identity, to native cultures. On the basis of data collected on the practice of allopathic medicine by Iranian physicians in the Islamic Republic of Iran, I argue that allopathic medical knowledge, theories and practice are integrated into native cultures in a critical and reflexive manner. At the same time as native worldviews are changed by allopathic ideas, technologies and practices, these same ideas, technologies and practices are adapted to be consistent with native ideas of the body, health and disease, and are even used to rationalize these. I interpret these data with concepts derived from the cognitive sciences, particularly schema theory, which is concerned with elucidating how modes of thought---schema pertaining to health and disease in this case---are constructed and become motivational. I conclude that the system of allopathic medicine per se does not contain within it the terms and conditions of its use. These are provided by the economic, socio-structural, cultural, political and ethical contexts of its use. These spheres of influence provide goals of practice and interpret the well-formedness of explanations and actions pertaining to health and disease. Inherent ambiguities and contradictions within and between these contexts of practice allow both for flexibility and stability in practice.
Issue Date:2001
Description:239 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3023128
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2001

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