The Patient Multiple: An Ethnography of Healthcare and Decision-Making in Bhutan | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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The Patient Multiple: An Ethnography of Healthcare and Decision-Making in Bhutan

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Volume 4

WYSE Series in Social Anthropology

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The Patient Multiple

An Ethnography of Healthcare and Decision-Making in Bhutan

Jonathan Taee

242 pages, 30 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-394-1 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (January 2017)

ISBN  978-1-78920-796-5 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (June 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78533-395-8 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Of considerable interest for academics, The Patient Multiple should be a must-read for medical practitioners working in Bhutan, both citizens and foreigners…Taee does an excellent job of analyzing the distinct ways practitioners in the modern, traditional, and alternative spheres envision and treat patients and their illnesses and how these alternatives in turn resonate with differing notions of ethics, community, and citizenship among other factors.” • Pacific Affairs

“It is a well thought-out book that attempts to place the concept of medical plurality and especially ‘multiplicity’ in a more complex situation in Bhutan today… The book is comprised of five chapters, written in rich ethnographic style and anthropological analyses.”  •

The Patient Multiple is a refreshing account of healing narratives in a medical plural context. It is a wonderful and insightful read, written in a way that is accessible to a wide audience, blending rich description and grounded analysis. Furthermore, beautiful photographs taken by the author accompany and complement the text. In sum, the book is very well suited for students at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels and is an important contribution for those interested in medical pluralism and the shifting healing landscape in the Himalayan region.” • Medical Anthropology Quarterly

“…the book is clearly structured and includes several photographs that visually underline the ethnographic accounts…[It] offers a welcome contribution to the medical anthropological literature on ‘patient-hood’ and the multiplicity this involves on the ground. With its accessibility and detailed ethnographic examples, it makes a good read for undergraduate courses in medical anthropology and anybody working in or concerned with public health in Asia.” • Anthropos

“This book is a welcome pioneering ethnography based on case studies that demonstrate a clear understanding of the way in which public health care services in Bhutan integrate both biomedical and ’traditional’ medicine.” • Mona Schrempf, Free University, Berlin

“This is a timely and much needed study on the relationship between traditional and modern medicine in Bhutan that is grounded in a rich, nuanced ethnographic study.” • Richard Whitecross, Edinburgh Napier University


In the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, medical patients engage a variety of healing practices to seek cures for their ailments. Patients use the expanding biomedical network and a growing number of traditional healthcare units, while also seeking alternative practices, such as shamanism and other religious healing, or even more provocative practices. The Patient Multiple delves into this healthcare complexity in the context of patients’ daily lives and decision-making processes, showing how these unique mountain cultures are finding new paths to good health among a changing and multifaceted medical topography.

Jonathan Taee holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge. He has conducted ethnographic research and worked in Tibet, Peru, Nepal, India, the USA and Bhutan.

Visit the author's website:

Subject: Anthropology (General)Medical AnthropologyAnthropology of Religion
Area: Asia


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