Perceptions of Illness Examined

Cape Times (South Africa), March 8, 2013 | Go to article overview

Perceptions of Illness Examined


BYLINE: REVIEW: Dawn Garisch

Edited by Susan Levine

HSRC Press

This collection of observations and reflections is written by professionals working in anthropology, medical and pharmacological research, and art. The book brings our attention to the ways illness is perceived by patients and those they turn to for help, and how available methods for healing are implemented and received. It is a valuable contribution for a number of reasons.

Many of us have been brought up thinking that a fact is a fact, and the solution is a few logical steps away; the job of the anthropologist is to awaken us to what they term "knowledge production", alerting us that what we know is often manufactured out of available material, and is influenced by other factors and interested parties in the political, economic and social arenas.

Knowledge is contingent on a number of variables, and might well change completely if other information emerges. Susan Levine, who edited the book, describes anthropologists as having a calling towards "ambiguous readings of everyday life".

The book straddles a range of conflicting and paradoxical solutions that the sick, across many cultures, seek out.

Subject matter includes patients with HIV/Aids and tuberculosis; the sometimes questionable methods employed by pharmaceutical companies and anthropologists to acquire or concoct knowledge; and how local knowledge about healing is translated across other settings.

Modern medicine has developed the valuable tool of objective measurement to test how effective our interventions are. Yet doctors know that there is an interpersonal assessment that cannot be ticked off in a textbook box.

Few clinicians would dare or even want to diagnose and treat a patient without personal contact which includes the laying-on of hands. The ill body is not a stereotypical object, uniform across cultures, time and geographies. The body is attached to vastly different personalities and contexts; these must be taken into account when diagnosing and treating.

On the other hand, practitioners of therapies that fall outside the domain of scientific method, and that rely more on intuition, story, symbol and other unmeasurables, are increasingly wanting recognition and certification in mainstream institutions - the topic of one of the chapters.

I am very much in favour of texts that try to understand all aspects of our humanity, in particular common individual or group behaviours that look incomprehensible. The effort of understanding our own and other people's beliefs and actions can go some way towards lessening the suffering we all cause through intolerance, assumptions and arrogance. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

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.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Perceptions of Illness Examined
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.