Health, Culture and Religion in South Asia: Critical Perspectives, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Health, Culture and Religion in South Asia

Critical Perspectives, 1st Edition

Edited by Assa Doron, Alex Broom


158 pages

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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.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Social and Cultural Production of Health in South Asia Assa Doron and Alex Broom Section 1: Culture, power and lay medical interface 1: Class and the Clinic: The Subject of Medical Pluralism and the Transmission of Inequality Kalpana Ram 2: Spatial Boundaries and Moralities of Gender: Considerations from Obstetric and Gynaecological Practice in Chennai, South India Victoria Loblay Section 2: Public health and private illness 3: Occupational Health, Risk and Science in India’s Global Factories Jamie Cross 4: Injecting Drug Use and HIV in North-East India: Negotiating a Public Health Response in a Complex Environment Michele Kermode, Peter Deutschmann, M.C. Arunkumar and Greg Manning 5: HIV and the Gurus: Religiosity, Plurality and the Challenge of a ‘Hindu’ Response to AIDS Nalin Mehta and Upahar Pramanik 6: Unmarried Muslim Youth and Sex Education in the bustees of Kolkata Kabita Chakraborty 7: The Intoxicated Poor: Alcohol, Morality and Power and the Boatmen of Banaras Assa Doron Section 3: Traditional healing and local knowledge 8: Between Medicine and Manthravady: Agency and Identity in Paniya Health Sumant Badami 9: Learning from Infertility: Gender, Health Inequities and Faith Healers in Women’s Experiences of Disrupted Reproduction in Rajasthan Maya Unnithan 10: The Practice and Meanings of Spiritual Healing in Nepal Asha Lal Tamang and Alex Broom

About the Editors

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).

About the Series

Routledge South Asian History and Culture Series

This books series offers a forum that will provide an integrated perspective on the field at large. It brings together research on South Asia in the humanities and social sciences, and provides scholars with a platform covering, but not restricted to, their particular fields of interest and specialization. Such an approach is critical to any expanding field of study, for the development of more informed and broader perspectives, and of more overarching theoretical conceptions.

The idea is to try to achieve a truly multidisciplinary forum for the study of South Asia under the aegis of which the established disciplines (e.g. history, politics, gender studies) and more recent fields (e.g. sport studies, sexuality studies) will enmesh with each other. A focus is also to make available to a broader readership new research on film, media, photography, medicine and the environment, which have to date remained more specialized fields of South Asian studies.

A significant concern for series is to focus across the whole of the region known as South Asia, and not simply on India, as most ‘South Asia' forums inevitably tend to do. The series is most conscious of this gap in South Asian studies and works to bring into focus more scholarship on and from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and other parts of South Asia.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Religion & Science
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Services
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies