The SAGE Handbook of Cultural Anthropology is the first instalment of The SAGE Handbook of the Social Sciences series and encompasses major specialities as well as key interdisciplinary themes relevant to the field. Globally, societies are facing major upheaval and change, and the social sciences are fundamental to the analysis of these issues, as well as the development of strategies for addressing them. This handbook provides a rich overview of the discipline and has a future focus whilst using international theories and examples throughout. The SAGE Handbook of Cultural Anthropology is an essential resource for social scientists globally and contains a rich body of chapters on all major topics relevant to the field, whilst also presenting a possible road map for the future of the field. Part 1: Foundations; Part 2: Focal Areas; Part 3: Urgent Issues; and Part 4: Short Essays: Contemporary Critical Dynamics.

Medical Anthropology

Medical anthropology
Michelle Munyikwa


Since 1948, health has been defined by the World Health Organization as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’ (World Health Organization, 1948). This simple explanation belies the complex meanings that health has in different contexts. After all, every society has had to grapple with the meaning of suffering, illness, and well-being, developing in tandem a body of knowledge and practices for negotiating these complex meanings and their effects.

Anthropologists have long studied the ways that communities define, ensure, and restore health through locally grounded and meaningful practices. In pursuit of the multiple meanings and discourses of health and the practices they engender, generations of anthropologists ...

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