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Social Suffering 0th Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520209954
ISBN-10: 0520209958
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Arthur Kleinman is Maude and Lilian Presley Professor of Medical Anthropology and Chair of the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University. His most recent book is Writing at the Margin (California, 1996). Veena Das is Professor of Sociology at the University of Delhi and author of Critical Events: An Anthropological Approach to Contemporary India (1995). Margaret Lock, Professor in the departments of Social Studies of Medicine and of Anthropology at McGill University, is author of Encounters with Aging (California, 1993) and coeditor of Knowledge, Power and Practice (California, 1993).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 425 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (December 30, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520209958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520209954
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #705,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
There are still people in this world who listen: anthropologists. After reading less than humble authors who are certain they have most if not all the answers, I found this volume to be a delight. The fifteen articles in this book, each concerning individuals and groups in a particular cultural/historical setting, address the phenomenon of "social suffering". While the dominant American cultural construct holds that virtually every experience is individual, these authors establish that life is, after all, social and individual, and much suffering (another unpopular topic) is created, experienced and coped with socially. The first chapter, by Arthur Kleinman and Joan Kleinman, is alone worth the price of the book. After discussing how we Americans present to ourselves and react to news of dire suffering, usually discretly presented without context and with no way to respond, the authors write, "The American cultural rhetoric ... is changing from the language of caring to the language of efficiency and cost ...." Other essays address Mao's China, modern India, Nazi medicine, terror in Sri Lanka and torture. Paul Farmer's essay regarding the lives of two of Haiti's destitute is particularly unnerving. Some of the essays require close reading, but they are well worth the effort. This is a book that will leave you with a broader and deeper perspective.
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It's OK if you are studying in-depth social issues. But, much too complex for the average reader. Not an easy read.
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