1st Edition

Health, Culture and Religion in South Asia Critical Perspectives

Edited By Assa Doron, Alex Broom Copyright 2011
    168 Pages
    by Routledge

    164 Pages
    by Routledge

    Health, Culture and Religion in South Asia brings together top international scholars from a range of social science disciplines to critically explore the interplay of local cultural and religious practices in the delivery and experiences of health in South Asia. This groundbreaking text provides much needed insight into the relationships between health, culture, community, livelihood, and the nation-state, and in particular, the recent struggles of disadvantaged groups to gain access to health care in South Asia.

    The book brings together anthropologists, sociologists, economists, health researchers and development specialists to provide the reader with an interdisciplinary approach to the study of South Asian health and a comprehensive understanding of cutting edge research in this area. Addressing key issues affecting a range of geographical areas including India, Nepal and Pakistan, this text will be essential reading for students and researchers interested in Asian Studies and for those interested in gaining a better understanding of health in developing countries.

    This book was published as a special issue of South Asian History and Culture.

    Section 1: South Asian health in context

    1: Class in the Clinic: The performativity of class in encounters between health professionals and rural poor women  Kalpana Ram (Head of Anthropology, Macquarie University, Australia)

    2: Health care and gender-segregation in Pakistani Islamist discourse  Shakira Hussein (Research School of Social Science, Australian National University)

    3: Public-private intersections: an exploration of health-care, class and pregnancy in Chennai, South India  Victoria Loblay (School of Social Science, Macquarie University)

    4: Purity, pollution and wellbeing amongst the boatmen of Banaras, India  Assa Doron (Research Fellow, College of Asia & the Pacific, Australian National University)

    Section 2: Public health and private illness

    5: Fertility decisions of rural Indian households: The role of religion  Raghbendra Jha (College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University)

    6: HIV and gurus: a new health initiative in India  Nalin Mehta (UN Health, New Delhi, India)

    7: Natural disasters and health issues: A case study of the Gujarat Earthquake  Venkatachalam Thiruppugazh (College of Asia & the Pacific, Australian National University)

    8: Injecting drug use and HIV in Manipur and Nagaland: The problems and responses in a complex environment  Peter Deutschmann (Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne, Australia)

    Section 3: Traditional healing and local knowledge

    9: Reproductive health, kinship and healing in North India  Maya Unnithan (Reader, Department of Anthropology, University of Sussex, United Kingdom)

    10: Inter-professional conflict and strategic alliance between traditional healers and oncologists in Pakistan  Alex Broom (Lecturer in Sociology, CAPSTRANS, University of Newcastle, Australia)

    11: The practice and meanings of traditional healing in Nepal  Asha Lal Tamang and Dr Alex Broom (CAPSTRANS, University of Newcastle, Australia)

    12: Future agendas in South Asian health research  Assa Doron and Dr Alex Broom


    Assa Doron is an anthropologist in the School of Culture, History & Language at the Australian National University. His research interests include religion, identity politics, gender and popular and new media in North India, as well as alternative medicine and biomedical practices across India more generally. He is the author of Caste, Occupation and Politics on the Ganges: Passages of Resistance (Ashgate, 2008) and has co-edited 'The Cultural Politics of Disadvantage in South Asia', for Asian Studies Review (2009) and the article Caste Away? Subaltern engagement with the modern Indian state, Modern Asian Studies 22, 4 (2010).

    Alex Broom is a sociologist at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney. His research focuses on cancer and palliative care, complementary and alternative medicine, mens health, and international health and development. He has written on a wide range of health issues within diverse cultural contexts including the UK, Australia, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. His recent books include Therapeutic Pluralism: Exploring the experiences of cancer patients and professionals (Routledge) and Mens Health: Body, Identity and Social Context (Wiley-Blackwell).