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An Anthropology of Biomedicine is an exciting new introduction to biomedicine and its global implications. Focusing on the ways in which the application of biomedical technologies bring about radical changes to societies at large, cultural anthropologist Margaret Lock and her co-author physician and medical anthropologist Vinh-Kim Nguyen develop and integrate the thesis that the human body in health and illness is the elusive product of nature and culture that refuses to be pinned down. Introduces biomedicine from an anthropological perspective, exploring the entanglement of material bodies with history, environment, culture, and politics Develops and integrates an original theory: that the human body in health and illness is not an ontological given but a moveable, malleable entity Makes extensive use of historical and contemporary ethnographic materials around the globe to illustrate the importance of this methodological approach Integrates key new research data with more classical material, covering the management of epidemics, famines, fertility and birth, by military doctors from colonial times on Uses numerous case studies to illustrate concepts such as the global commodification of human bodies and body parts, modern forms of population, and the extension of biomedical technologies into domestic and intimate domains Winner of the 2010 Prose Award for Archaeology and Anthropology
"By convincingly articulating critical medical anthropology and social studies of science, analyzing questions emerging from the most recent technologies in medicine and reflecting on public health issues in developing countries, this book will become a reference for social scientists and more broadly for all those interested in contemporary changes and challenges." Didier Fassin, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and Ecole des Hautes Eludes en Sciences Sociales, Paris "An Anthropology of Biomedicine is a magisterial review of the knowledge claims of biomedicine that establishes the salience of local biologies in the field of global health. Original and compelling - it is a stunning achievement." Veena Das, Johns Hoplcins University "Because Lock and Nguyen take seriously the ongoing co-constitution of diverse biological and social bodies-human, microbial, and more-they have written a timely, densely ethnographic, theoretically astute, and necessary book. This book proposes an anthropology of biomedicine as technology that can better contribute to actually realizing health as a basic human right globally." Donna Haraway, University of California, Santa cruz "An Anthropology of Biomedicine introduces biomedicine from an anthropological perspective, exploring the entanglement of material bodies with history, environment, culture, and politics. Focusing on the ways in which the application of biomedical technologies bring about radical changes to societies at large, medical anthropologist Margaret Lock and physician and medical anthropologist Vinh-Kim Nguyen advance the theory that the human body in health and illness is not an ontological given but a moveable, malleable entity that is the elusive product of nature and culture. Tracking the historic global application of biomedical technologies, the authors reveal the intended and unintended local consequences and the exacerbation of global inequalities and health disparities that such technologies bring about.
An Anthropology of Biomedicine is an exciting new introduction to biomedicine and its global implications. Focusing on the ways in which the application of biomedical technologies bring about radical changes to societies at large, cultural anthropologist Margaret Lock and her co-author physician and medical anthropologist Vinh-Kim Nguyen develop and integrate the thesis that the human body in health and illness is the elusive product of nature and culture that refuses to be pinned down. Introduces biomedicine from an anthropological perspective, exploring the entanglement of material bodies with history, environment, culture, and politics Develops and integrates an original theory: that the human body in health and illness is not an ontological given but a moveable, malleable entity Makes extensive use of historical and contemporary ethnographic materials around the globe to illustrate the importance of this methodological approach Integrates key new research data with more classical material, covering the management of epidemics, famines, fertility and birth, by military doctors from colonial times on Uses numerous case studies to illustrate concepts such as the global commodification of human bodies and body parts, modern forms of population, and the extension of biomedical technologies into domestic and intimate domains Winner of the 2010 Prose Award for Archaeology and Anthropology
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Medicine supposedly offers a scientific account of the human body and of illness, and it follows that scientific medicine treats all forms of folk medicine as little more than superstitious practices. Professor Good argues that this impoverished perspective neglects many facets of Western medical practice and obscures its kinship with healing in other traditions. Drawing on his own anthropological research in America and the Middle East, his analysis of illness and medicine explores the role of cultural factors in the experience of illness and the practice of medicine.
Biomedicine in an Unstable Place is the story of people's struggle to make biomedicine work in a public hospital in Papua New Guinea. It is a story encompassing the history of hospital infrastructures as sites of colonial and postcolonial governance, the simultaneous production of Papua New Guinea as a site of global medical research and public health, and people's encounters with urban institutions and biomedical technologies. In Papua New Guinea, a century of state building has weakened already inadequate colonial infrastructures, and people experience the hospital as a space of institutional, medical, and ontological instability. In the hospital's clinics, biomedical practitioners struggle amid severe resource shortages to make the diseased body visible and knowable to the clinical gaze. That struggle is entangled with attempts by doctors, nurses, and patients to make themselves visible to external others—to kin, clinical experts, global scientists, politicians, and international development workers—as socially recognizable and valuable persons. Here hospital infrastructures emerge as relational technologies that are fundamentally fragile but also offer crucial opportunities for making people visible and knowable in new, unpredictable, and powerful ways.
The culture of contemporary medicine is the object of investigation in this book; the meanings and values implicit in biomedical knowledge and practice and the social processes through which they are produced are examined through the use of specific case studies. The essays provide examples of how various facets of 20th century medicine, including edu cation, research, the creation of medical knowledge, the development and application of technology, and day to day medical practice, are per vaded by a value system characteristic of an industrial-capitalistic view of the world in which the idea that science represents an objective and value free body of knowledge is dominant. The authors of the essays are sociologists and anthropologists (in almost equal numbers); also included are papers by a social historian and by three physicians all of whom have steeped themselves in the social sci ences and humanities. This co-operative endeavor, which has necessi tated the breaking down of disciplinary barriers to some extent, is per haps indicative of a larger movement in the social sciences, one in which there is a searching for a middle ground between grand theory and attempts at universal explanations on the one hand, and the context-spe cific empiricism and relativistic accounts characteristic of many historical and anthropological analyses on the other.

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