Healthy/Sick

Biomedicine is the authoritative form of medicine in western culture. Anthropologists study the culture of biomedicine by examining history of biomedicine, the language of biomedical facts, and the rituals of biomedicine. The institutional history of biomedicine includes how biomedicine became the authoritative form and how the facts and practices have changed over time. The language of biomedical facts includes how social values and ideologies are conceptualized in a scientific manor. The rituals and customs of biomedicine are examined in patient care settings, clinics, hospital etc. A number of events have changed and shaped the way our society examines the culture of biomedicine including germ theory, fundamental genetics, and increased use of pharmaceuticals. The culture of biomedicine is continually advancing as our experience and knowledge increases. Hopefully this continues and the efficiency and effectiveness of biomedicine continues to grow.

Dichotomy is the splitting of a specific topic or idea into mutually exclusive parts. I believe you must specify the culture you are examining when looking at a dichotomy such as healthy versus sick. In many different cultures around the world the individual belief of sickness is varied. The video that was presented earlier in the course showed young boys and the “rite of passage” they experienced when contracting diseases found in the water supply. This led the children to have blood in the urine among other symptoms. In that specific culture this was not considered a sickness, in western culture however this would obviously be considered a sickness and would require medical treatment. Focusing just on western culture I believe there is a more defined line between healthy and sick. We still must take into account the individual perception and the role that plays in determining if someone is healthy or sick, but generally speaking our society relies on health professionals for diagnosis and treatment. I believe people are considered either healthy or sick in western society depending on the presence of a clinical diagnosis. Medical professionals do not normally treat sicknesses like the common cold or flu. A diagnosis by a medical professional is the authoritative form in determining if an individual is healthy or sick.

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