The Anthropology of Medicine: From Culture to Method

By Lola Romanucci-Ross; Daniel E. Moerman et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

15
SCIENCE OF THE MIND IN CONTEXTS OF A CULTURE

LAURENCE R. TANCREDI

Since the mid- 1950s there has been a revolution not only in the practice of psychiatry but in the dominant ideology of what occurs in the formation and mediation of behavior. Historically the concepts of man and his behavior have been informed by a view of external influences on man. During the pre-Christian era in Greece ( Simon 1978), the identity (psyche) and seat of man's behavior was perceived as midway between the gods and man himself. Homer had no term for "self," nor did he portray the psyche as a reflecting, thinking, feeling center of activity of living persons, certainly not an activity within the person. As Simon suggests, Homer did not perceive of people thinking for themselves ( Simon 1978:56). Rather they are engaged in dialogue with a god, another person, or even parts of themselves. Hence concerns of good and evil, though clearly understood within a framework of societal values, did not essentially originate in the individual, nor were they attributable to personal responsibility in the sense in which Western man conceives of that notion. Man was as much a victim as a perpetrator.

Madness was similarly understood in terms of external forces. Some 3,000 or more years ago, before man could write and begin the process of objectifying knowledge, he was led by the impulses of oracles and those who heard voices. These voices were frequently perceived as coming from the gods, who would give advice on how to deal with novelty and stress. It was an era of reliance on subjective experience -- often understood as a predominantly right-hemisphere function ( Jaynes 1977) -- as there was no way to categorize and systematize thinking, a phenomenon which became possible only with the written word.

Plato constructed a model of mental functioning in which the mind was a battlefield where parties within the person fought for dominance and con

-305-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Anthropology of Medicine: From Culture to Method
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 400

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?