I think the biological approach is the most useful in the study of health. It is the most logical in understanding what happens with the organ systems when they are affected by disease. When the normal healthy state of the body is not in balance, changes occur in the body to compensate.  I believe this approach definitively shows what happens when there is a state of disease or recovery from surgery.  It is kind of a domino effect.  When something happens with with one organ, the others are affected in a similar manner.

I believe illness is an altered state of well being. A disease needs to be treated to affect a cure. Miner is talking about a culture so full of rituals that it was hard to see how the Nacirema ever were to get anything done in their daily lives.  Magic plays a huge part in their rituals, which are private as are their shrines. They do have a successful economy which is hard to comprehend since they spend most of their time performing these rituals.

Most of the people do the mouth-rite, have a shrine and there is a ritual that involves scraping the skin of the face with a sharp instrument–a kind of sadistic torture. The kind of ritual these people are put through could cause disease such as infections, decay of the teeth. They have a ritual in which they pull their teeth apart if there is no decay and put “magic” dust in the pulled apart areas.  It is true that this is a severe instance to what a culture will do to enforce their beliefs on each other.  Miner states that they believe their bodies are ugly and disease and decline is the body’s natural tendency.  He also says that they believe so devoutly in these rituals to help change the body’s natural state and the only way to do this is through rituals and ceremonies.

3 thoughts on “Biological

  1. I picked the Ethno-medical approach because I believe that the notion of “health” really depends on the opinions of each individual person which are highly affected by their cultures and different social norms. I think that a single concept of “health” is not applicable to all the people of the world, because a person that may be considered very healthy in one culture may not be considered healthy in another.
    Out of the rituals you described, I believe that the first is to represent a current ritual in the United States, that of shaving the face. While, this ritual is mainly common to men for aesthetic purposes, this is not mentioned in the article. When you mentioned the rituals possibly causing death and infection, I think this is more characteristic of the time period in which the article was written. They did not have a lot of the medical advances that we are fortunate enough to have access to nowadays and therefore many hospital or “latipso” visits ended in death. I believe that the second ritual described, that of pulling the teeth apart and inserting a magic dust is that of visiting the dentist to have a cavity filled. It makes sense because most cavities, if you’re lucky, are not visible which would explain why Miner says that the ritual is performed even in the absence of decay. I also think that Miner’s mention of the human body being thought of as ugly is an idea that remains to be very popular in contemporary American society. A great example of the belief that the human form is ugly in its natural state is the plastic surgery industry. People pay to reverse aging, augment their breasts and have various other procedures done all because they are dissatisfied with their natural form.

  2. I also chose the ethnomedical approach because ideas of health and illness really depends on an individuals experiences. Doctors must be able to communicate with people in ways that they understand in order to treat them successfully. Like Dominique mentioned, the same thing may be seen as healthy in one culture and unhealthy in another. A great example is in the lecture when she talks about women having a lean figure after pregnancy in America compared to women in Africa.
    I think that Miner pointing out the fact that Americans focus a lot on there physical appearance is extremely valid today. There are too many products out that focus on improving ones appearance. Make up is a huge industry that is specifically for this purpose. Anti-wrinkle creams are another great example of ways that we try to improve appearance and fight the signs of aging. Botox, microderm abrasion, plastic surgery; all are for this purpose improving ones looks. In a way I guess these are the “magic creams and remedies” of the modern would. We are influenced by the social stigmas of society. Being fit, beautiful, and looking young are praised and those that fit this mold are usually successful in life.

  3. I chose the ecological approach because I believe people are a product of their environment. Also, I chose this approach because I believe humans impact their in environment in negative and positive ways and this in turns directly correlates to the condition of their health. When Miner mentioned the cutting done of the cherry tree this shows how American culture can have a negative impact within their environment to promote their own social health needs. Our environment is extremely important to us because it provides us with natural resources. Even today people still cut down trees, companies pollute water and the air we breathe. And this in turn will eventually affect our health because we are polluting our environment with man made pollution. We have to continue to replenish our earth.

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