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Culture and Meaning in Health Services Research Paperback – February 28, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1598741377 ISBN-10: 1598741373 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Left Coast Press; 1 edition (February 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598741373
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598741377
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,988,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"In this book, Sobo bridges the disciplinary divide between health and social science, demonstrating the distinct angle of thoughtful analysis that anthropological method and interpretative tradition bring to unraveling the complexities of health service systems. Recognizing that many holes within current evidentiary health knowledge pertain to interactions in which human agency plays a central role, she engages the reader in a delightful and opinionated dialogue that creatively deconstructs conventional assumptions and convincingly reveals what social theorizing contributes to understanding and solving the problems confronting health service researchers today." —Sally Thorne, Professor and Director, UBC School of Nursing

"This is an intelligent and robust exploration of the unique contributions, and validity, of the anthropological approach to health services research. Sobo clearly demonstrates that to fully understand human beliefs and behavior in relation to health, not all phenomena can be reduced to mere numbers and statistics. A more nuanced, eclectic approach is needed, and for that reason I strongly recommend this book." —Cecil Helman, MD, Author of Culture, Health and Illness

"Sobo provides health professionals and social scientists with a lifetime of real-world lessons aptly illustrating the added value and challenges of employing anthropologically informed qualitative methods in health service research in clinical settings. This highly engaging and very readable how-to book makes a compelling case for why this type of research is necessary and what it takes to get it done in busy clinical environments where researchers must maneuver carefully and be attentive to a system undergoing constant change. Notably, Sobo addresses the contexts in which research results are released and speaks to the power of teaching stories and translational research in a field largely guided by audit culture. The book is timely and speaks to both health social science and health care audiences." —Mark Nichter, University of Arizona

"To meet today's health care challenges we must bring the methods and analytic skills and passions of medical anthropology into health service settings. Elisa Sobo boldly shows the way. Writing in an engaging and direct style, she argues the importance of meaning in hospitals and health care, clarifies what anthropologists do in such settings, and offers straightforward and sensible guidance about methods and everyday practice. In doing so, Sobo provides compelling reasons for health care providers to want anthropologists, and will inspire anthropologists and their students to take up the opportunities." —Lenore Manderson, School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Monash University

"Aimed as a practical guide for health services researchers, this book goes beyond providing a ‘how to’ text to address the context and value of anthropologically informed qualitative health services research. It is aimed not only at other medical anthropologists working in healthcare research, such as the author herself, but also those engaged in health services research from other disciplines and backgrounds. The book achieves this by giving equal attention to the contexts of both health services research and anthropologically informed qualitative methods, inviting the reader to reflect on their own areas of familiarity as well as reflecting on the professional domains of others. Sobo makes extensive use of case studies and examples from her own experi- ence, setting out issues using illustrative anecdotes in a way that makes the subject matter accessible to readers less familiar with the field. This style of a sequentially written narrative may not suit readers who are seeking a more compartmentalized research methods text which can be ‘dipped into’. The broad scope of the book and the interweaving of key concepts, personal experience and case studies, makes the whole book journey worthwhile and rewarding to orientate the reader to the subject matter."

- Kathryn Roulston, Qualitative Research

From the Inside Flap

A practical guide to applying interpretive qualitative methods to pressing healthcare delivery problems.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By SueJ on December 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is wonderful. I'm a medical anthropologist and an RN. Sobo does an excellent job of analyzing the complexities of working in a healthcare institution for a field site. Although I have more than two decades of experience in healthcare, I really wish I had come across this work while I was conducting my dissertation field research.
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