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Medical Identities: Healing, Well Being and Personhood

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Volume 2

Social Identities

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Medical Identities

Healing, Well Being and Personhood

Edited by Kent Maynard†

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172 pages, index

ISBN  978-1-84545-038-0 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 Hb Published (May 2007)

ISBN  978-1-84545-100-4 25% OFF! $27.95/£19.00 $20.96/£14.25 Pb Published (May 2007)

eISBN 978-1-78920-596-1 eBook

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“Medical Identities is a welcome call to arms – we need to take medical identities seriously. There is more to healing and promotion of well-being than the health-seeking behaviours and experiences of patients, on the one hand, and the power-knowledge relations that bear medical professions, on the other.”  ·  JRAI


Illness and misfortune more broadly are ubiquitous; thus, healing roles or professions are also universal. Ironically, however, little attention has been paid to those who heal or promote wellbeing. These come in many different guises: in some societies, healing is highly professional and specialized; in some cases, it is more preventative, in others more interventionist. Based on rich and wide-ranging ethnographic data and especially written for this volume, these essays look at how a great variety of health providers are perceived – from traditional healers to physicians, from diviners to nursing home providers. Conversely, the authors also ask how healers, or those concerned with wider matters of well being, view themselves and to what degree social attitudes differ in regard to who these people are, as well as their power, prestige and activities. As these essays demonstrate, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or state policy may all play formative roles in shaping the definition of health and wellbeing, how they are delivered, and the character and prestige of those who provide for our health and welfare in society.

Kent Maynard†, was at Denison University and a Visiting Fellow, at ISCA, University of Oxford

Subject: Medical Anthropology Sociology


Introduction: Working at Therapeutic Personhood
Kent Maynard

Chapter 1. General Practitioners in Britain and South Africa
Anne Digby

Chapter 2. Drug-providers in Cambodia
Ing-Britt Trankell and Jan Oveson

Chapter 3. Medical Identity in Cameroon
Kent Maynard

Chapter 4.Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity among Zulu Diviners
Gina Buijs

Chapter 5. Learning to be an Acupuncturist
Elisabeth Hsu

Chapter 6. Auxiliary Workers in a Nursing-home Hierarchy
Janette Davies

Chapter 7. The Cost of a Normal Birth
Jenny Littlewood

Notes on contributors

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