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Social Lives of Medicines


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Table of Contents

Part I. Introduction: 1. An anthropology of materia medica; Part II. The Consumers: 2. Mothers and children: the efficacies of drugs; 3. Villagers and local remedies: the symbolic nature of medicines; 4. Women in distress: medicines for control; 5. Sceptical consumers: doubts about medicines; Part III. The Providers: 6. Drug vendors and their market: the commodification of health; 7. Pharmacists as doctors: bridging the sectors of health care; 8. Injectionists: the attraction of technology; 9. Prescribing physicians: medicines as communication; Part IV. The Strategists: 10. Manufacturers: scientific claims, commercial aims; 11. Health planners: making and contesting drug policy; Part V. Conclusion: 12. Anthropologists and the sociality of medicines.

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An anthropological study of the social functions and meanings of medicines in different cultures.

About the Author

Susan Reynolds Whyte is Professor at the Institute of Anthropology of the University of Copenhagen. Sjaak van der Geest is Professor of Medical Anthropology at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the University of Amsterdam. Anita Hardon is Professor and Director of the Amsterdam School for Social Science Research at the University of Amsterdam.


'... [this] recent volume in the Cambridge Studies in Medical Anthropology series [is an] important contribution to the study of medicines, not only for medical anthropologists, but for anybody who wants to understand what medicines do and how they do what they do ... This book does a good job of presenting some of the research that has been done, and makes a persuasive plea for more anthropological and public health attention to this area.' Journal of Biosocial Science 'It is difficult to do justice to a book that is full of so many different ethnographic studies and details. The plethora of ethnographic material is the book's big strength.' Journal of Social Anthropology

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