Nature/Culture

The nature vs. nurture argument is one many of us have been introduced to at one point or another. Nature vs. culture is the same concept and the two are viewed as separate when it comes to biomedicine. Many scientists used to believe that our genes and the environment we grow up in do not have to do with one another. This view has changed over time since more studies have shown that there is a relation between our cultures and how we develop. I personally believe that the tie between nature and culture is very strong, more than many might think. Even though I do think genes play a big role in our creation, the environment and culture we grow up in shapes us greatly as individuals. My view on the topic has developed from mostly courses I have taken in high school and especially college. As mentioned in lecture, biomedicine explains health in terms of biology, and focuses on learning about the body by anatomy and physiology. But biology alone does not explain illness. Culture, politics, the environment, and individual choice can have an impact on health and well-being. According to materials from lecture, biomedicine is a culturally constructed system. It operates as an institution and has a complex relationship with the culture its imbedded in. When studying biomedicine from a cultural perspective, it is important to look at the institutional history, language of biomedical facts, and rituals of biomedicine. The genetic sciences, and the germ theory are just two examples that reveal how biomedicine is a part of western culture. Many of us view these discoveries as natural or logical, but these trends are actually influenced by other aspects of our western culture such as the reorganization of medical education, the professional control over hospitals, etc. Therefore, biomedicine is not just a system of biological facts but an institution that is imbedded into a larger culture with its own set of ideologies, rituals, and rites of passage.

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  1. Meghan Kinter says:

    It is very important for clinicians to understand the dichotomy of nature versus nuture, clinicians need to be aware of both the nature and nuture aspect of situation. If a clinician simply looked at the nature side of an illness/condition they may spend years spinning their wheels looking for a solution by simply look at the biological factors. That is why it is important for clinicians to take into consideration both the nature AND nuture factors (biological/environmental factors) that could be causing a particular illness. Another conception of this dichotomy is that there is no link between nature and nuture and that they don’t have influence over one another. I don’t necessarily agree with this, I agree with Rei and believe that there is a strong tie between the two. The benefits of alternative perspective would be that there is room for many different ideas for solutions or cures. But the draw back of different way to conceptualize dichtomy’s would be the controversy over a solution. If one person believe something is caused by biological reasons they may suggest a medicine, and if another believes in environmentals reasons they may suggest counseling, while another person may believe there needs to be a combination of the two. Different perspectives can bring new oppotunities but also new controversies.

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