Cover image for The cultural context of health, illness, and medicine
The cultural context of health, illness, and medicine
Loustaunau, Martha O., 1938-
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Bergin & Garvey, 1997.
Physical Description:
221 pages ; 25 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GN296 .L68 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



"Loustaunau and Sobo demonstrate the ways in which cultural and social factors shape medicine and health care. After a discussion of culture, the social structure and the impact of poverty, class, gender, and family patterns on health, illness and care-seeking, they explain the similarities and differences of medical systems cross-culturally. The authors call for a more flexible and culturally sensitive system of health care that expresses caring in more holistic ways, and offer examples as to how this might be accomplished in the increasingly multicultural USA."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Author Notes

MARTHA O. LOUSTAUNAU is a Medical Sociologist in the Department of Sociology/Anthropology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces.

ELISA J. SOBO is a Medical Anthropologist in Cancer Prevention and Control at the University of California, San Diego.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In this work Loustaunau and Sobo integrate anthropological and sociological approaches to health and illness. They use examples as diverse as childbirth, suicide, and HIV to explore the role that cultural and social-structural differences play in defining illness and dictating its treatment. Gender, ethnicity, and social class are all considered as important factors in the meaning of illness and the organization of health care. The authors emphasize an appreciation for the role of cultural diversity in shaping responses to illness, but they also point out the interdependencies of the world's health care systems and, in particular, the dominance of biomedicine in the US. They trace the evolution of the US health care system and make the case for a more culturally sensitive approach to care. Each of seven chapters includes objectives and discussion questions. The authors use no jargon and require little or no background in the social sciences to achieve an understanding of health and illness from a social science perspective. General readers and undergraduates. S. A. Quandt; Wake Forest University

Table of Contents

The Concept of Culture
The Health-Related Consequences of Social Structure
Health and Illness Over the Life Course
Therapeutic Modalities: A Cross-Cultural
Perspective Biomedicine: History, Culture, and Change Gathering and Interpreting
Cultural Information: The Communication of Meaning
Application and Integration: Contemporary Challenges
Appendix: Resources for Cultural Assessment and Achieving Cultural Sensitivity