Eating Chinese Medicine

Peer Reviewed

Essay Excerpt

Reading medical anthropology could easily convince one that medicine everywhere is a pretty grim and ghoulish business. Healing technologies of all kinds seem invariably to address suffering and death (why else would be bother to study them?), and the apparently universal power relation of "doctor and patient" casts the vistim of disease as also a vistim of social inequality or of structuring cultural models. In this article I take a slightly different tack, departing from an already well-developed anthropology of the body to propose that medical practice might at times be a source not just of domination but of empowerment, not just of symptom relief but of significant pleasure (471).

Farquhar, J. "Eating Chinese Medicine." Cultural Anthropology 9.4(1994): 471–497.

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