Degree Year

1988

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Anthropology

Advisor(s)

Ronald Casson

Keywords

India, Rural, Health, Women, Healthcare

Abstract

In chapter one I define the problem, that public health in rural India is mostly governed by cultural and socio-economic forces. Efforts to improve rural health in India have in the past had varying levels of success, depending on how well they understood the root causes of problems and the ramifications their programs would have on the general lives of rural inhabitants.

I argue that social science literature has largely misunderstood the issues which need to be addressed, viewing health problems as results of "irrational" behavior by rural peoples. I argue that the question of rationality. whether one accuses or defends a particular behavior, is irrelevant. The important issues concern what the context of behaviors are, and what they mean to those people engaged in them.

I also argue in chapter one that health care requires more than Just technology, it requires an understanding of the human elements of life, illness. and healing. Anthropologists could be indispensable in discovering and analyzing how cultural and socio-economic factors interact to affect and react to illness and health issues.

In addition, I point out that studies done to discover these elements must be local, rather than generalizing, in nature. India is not homogeneous by any means, and the health programs which are most successful will be those which address specific, local needs in locally appropriate ways.

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Anthropology Commons

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