Medicine, Rationality and Experience : An Anthropological Perspective by Good, Byron J.
Cambridge University Press,
12 January 2011, Paperback , 262 pages
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.