Medical Anthropology: A Biocultural Approach

Andrea Wiley, John S. Allen
Publication Date
Oxford University Press

Medical anthropology encompasses a wide range of perspectives as it seeks to understand human health and illness. An ideal core text for introductory courses, Medical Anthropology: A Biocultural Approach provides a current and accessible overview of this diverse and rapidly expanding field. Working from a iocultural approach, Medical Anthropology examines the major health issues that affect most human societies, describing and synthesizing the ways in which biology, culture, health, and environment interact. It integrates up-to-date and relevant biological data with analyses of both evolutionary theory and the sociocultural conditions that often lead to major challenges to our health and survival.

Authors Andrea S. Wiley and John S. Allen first present basic biological information on a specific health condition and then extend their investigation to include evolutionary, historical, sociocultural, and political-economic perspectives. Topics covered include healers and healing; health, diet, and nutrition; child health, growth, and development; reproductive health; aging; infectious disease; behavioral disease; stress, social inequality, and race; and mental illness. Each chapter features a variety of case studies and examplescurrent and historical, local and globalthat demonstrate how a medical anthropological perspective can shed important light on a particular health condition.

In addition, the text is enhanced by numerous tables, figures, review questions, critical thinking questions, suggestions for accompanying ethnographies, and a glossary to help students better understand the material. Throughout the text, the authors consider how a biocultural anthropological approach could be applied to more effective prevention and treatment efforts. They also highlight the ways in which medical anthropology has the potential to help improve the health of populations around the world.