Diagnosis Narratives and the Healing Ritual in Western Medicine: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Diagnosis Narratives and the Healing Ritual in Western Medicine

1st Edition

By James Peter Meza


258 pages | 11 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138631427
pub: 2018-07-26
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315208886
pub: 2018-07-17
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The dominance of "illness narratives" in narrative healing studies has tended to mean that the focus centers around the healing of the individual. Meza proposes that this emphasis is misplaced and the true focus of cultural healing should lie in managing the disruption of disease and death (cultural or biological) to the individual’s relationship with society. By explicating narrative theory through the lens of cognitive anthropology, Meza reframes the epistemology of narrative and healing, moving it from relativism to a philosophical perspective of pragmatic realism. Using a novel combination of narrative theory and cognitive anthropology to represent the ethnographic data, Meza’s ethnography is a valuable contribution in a field where ethnographic records related to medical clinical encounters are scarce. The book will be of interest to scholars of medical anthropology and those interested in narrative history and narrative medicine.

Table of Contents

Part I: Methods

1. Fieldwork methods

2. The theoretical frame

Part II: The diagnosis narratives

3. Entrance into the field

4. Who is narrating and what story are they telling?

5. Spatial cognitions

6. The doctor tells the diagnostic story to the patient

7. Joint attention to the diagnostic narrative

8. Spatial therapy

Part III: Ritual healing in Western medicine

9. Ritual theory

10. Disease as an existential threat

11. Qualifications of a leech

12. Healing relationships

13. When the healing ritual fails

Part IV: The body politic

14. The business of medicine

15. Overdiagnosis and overtreatment

Part V: Narrative studies on healing reconsidered

16. Narrative healing reconsidered

17. Theoretical synthesis

18. Reflections of a healer

Appendix A: Individual patient narratives

Appendix B: Doctors talk about work

Appendix C: Codebook and themes

About the Author

James P. Meza is Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Science at Wayne State University School of Medicine, USA. He holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology and is a practising doctor of medicine (MD).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Health and Medical Anthropology

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General