Saturday, 19 March 2011

Research and Markets: Cambodians and their Doctors: A Medical Anthropology of Colonial and Postcolonial Cambodia

via CAAI

March 18, 2011

DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of the "Cambodians and their Doctors: A Medical Anthropology of Colonial and Postcolonial Cambodia" report to their offering.

“Cambodians and their Doctors: A Medical Anthropology of Colonial and Postcolonial Cambodia”
.This is an anthropological study of doctors and patients in Cambodia. These two categories include the actors within the separate but coexisting medical traditions in Cambodia - the biomedical and the indigenous. Doctors in the biomedical tradition generally seek to cure the physical body, while indigenous medical practitioners seek to heal the social person. Ideally, both strategies for regaining health should be complementary, but medical doctors and indigenous healers have rarely collaborated. This book traces the social, historical, and political circumstances under which these two medical traditions have evolved and the opportunities and constraints which Cambodians have faced and still face when seeking healthcare.

Our study spans the colonial introduction of biomedicine into Cambodia in the late nineteenth century to the present. By anthropological standards this is a rather longue durée, also given that our own observations of Cambodian society go back a mere 13 years, and that most of our informants' recollections hardly extend further than the 1960s. Our aim, however, is to trace the articulation of the two medical traditions from the beginning of their coexistence and thereby offer a colonial and postcolonial anthropology as well as a political economy of medicality.

Among the Asian medical systems, Ayurvedic, Unani, and Chinese medicine would represent the great medical traditions (Leslie 1976), comparable in many respects to the great, though much less ancient, European tradition of biomedicine. The notion of a medical system includes both theory and practice: theory as a more or less consistent body of medical cosmological ideas - a world view - and practice as an associated set of therapeutic techniques and technologies. Medical systems are by no means static, and changes within them occur to varying degrees and at a varying pace as a matter of course, precipitated, for instance, by globalization and indigenization. In biomedicine changes in technique and technology are virtually built into the system through the notion of continual scientific and technological progress, whereas changes in world view are considerably less perceptible and rather longue dure.

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