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Anthropologies of Medicine, Religion, and Spirituality and Their Application to Clinical Practice 

Anthropologies of Medicine, Religion, and Spirituality and Their Application to Clinical Practice
Chapter:
Anthropologies of Medicine, Religion, and Spirituality and Their Application to Clinical Practice
Author(s):

Linda L. Barnes

and Lance D. Laird

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190272432.003.0017
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date: 27 May 2020

This chapter reviews how medical anthropology has characterized and interpreted biomedicine as a cultural system in its own right. Because so much of the field has attended to how practitioners and patients experience their engagement in biomedicine and other systems of healing, we introduce related dimensions. Some medical anthropologists have also drawn from what is known as the Anthropology of Religion, as a way of exploring religious traditions related to healing. Their work adds useful dimensions to the topic at hand. Finally, we address applied dimensions, that include how biomedical professionals can introduce issues related to religion/spirituality in their clinical work. We advocate for a synthesis of the strengths of religious studies, medical anthropology, refined tools of spiritual inquiry that reflect the particularities of the different traditions, and a stance of cultural humility.

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