Ecological approach

I felt that this approach is helpful because it incorporates how humans deal with their illnesses in their environment. It includes every aspect of their lives. Because the goal for every ecosystem is to maintain balance, the ecological approach enables us to look and see what happened and where things got of kilter. This approach allows us to look at changes in the environment, whether good or bad and research the effects in result of that. For example, in the lecture we learned that a positive change like an irrigation system in a community could enhance life of those community members. On the other hand, a negative change might be pollution, which would introduce new illnesses and diseases to those community members. This approach has a wide base and is able to include many different perspectives when understanding diseases.


There is a distinction between disease and illness. Illness is the human experience and perception of alterations in health as informed by its broader social and cultural contexts.  Disease is an aspect of the human environment, influenced by behavior and socio-political factors and is an outward clinical manifestation of altered physical function or infections.  These distinctions are not obvious to me and it seems difficult to put them into words. To me, illness is how you deal with it, how you yourself experiences it.


In Miner’s article “Nacirema, the culture that is being described is the American culture. I first realized this when the description of where this culture was. They said it was in North American and between Canada and Mexico. I was sure of it when I saw Po-To-Mac and realized that Notgnishaw and Nacirema are Washington and American spelled backwards.


Two rituals that they described in the article were going to the dentist and going to the therapist. The dentist was described as a Holy-Mouth-Man and go through the ritual of a regular teeth cleaning. Secondly, they talk about going to a witch doctor that is capable of “exercising demons”. This is a therapist or psychiatrist there to work out issues.

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