FRA SYGDOMSFORTOLKNING TIL SYGDOMSHÅNDTERING I DET ØSTLIGE UGANDA – OG I ANTROPOLOGIEN
Medical anthropologists have a long tradition for studying illness explanations
offered by local informants as well as how these explanations influence health
care seeking behaviour. In spite of anthropologists’ intentions to provide a cultural
critique of biomedicine, many studies within medical anthropology actually end
up confirming the implicit assumptions of the biomedical paradigm through their
focus on local illness explanations and health care-seeking behaviour. Due to their
interest in local illness explanations, anthropologists continue to be regarded as
those who can identify exotic understandings of sickness. These explanations,
it is then assumed, can be turned into more acceptable knowledge and appropriate
behaviour through public health initiatives. This article asserts that one way
to avoid such a trap is to recognize medical anthropology’s tendency to study
the use of cognitive models as analytical framework: classification, semantic
networks, explanatory models, narratives etc. There is a definite need for a shift
from semantics to pragmatics, when one addresses the interpretation of illness.
The discussion is based on fieldwork conducted primarily in Uganda, over the
course of the past 15 years. The author’s changes in perspective emerge from
developments in anthropology, especially medical anthropology, during this time
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