This paper reviews anthropological methods in ethnopharmacology to advance a critical and biobehavioral perspective for the construction of primary data in the light of indigenous paradigms of health and therapeutics. The unique contributions of anthropology are the conceptual and practical tools that allow one to develop the ethnography of plant use in sufficient depth to correlate with laboratory and clinical investigations of plant constituents and activities. This serves an ethnopharmacology that links bioscientific research to traditional empirical knowledge. Specific methods discussed include: key respondents, participant observation, focus groups, structured and unstructured interviews, survey instruments and questionnaires, lexical and semantic studies, and discourse and content analysis. The accommodation of rapid ethnographic techniques for ethnopharmacologic research is described, and several problem orientations based on assessments of efficacy are offered.
Because global climate change is intimately linked to culture, anthropologists are strategically well-placed to interpret it, communicate information about it, and act in response to it both in the field and at home. Fieldworkers are increasingly encountering reports of the local effects of climate change from their research partners, and it is becoming apparent that indigenous peoples' recognized capacity for adaptation to change may not be sufficient to cope with these effects. Fieldwork among Viliui Sakha of northeastern Siberia suggests an action-oriented approach to anthropological climate change research that begins by developing cultural models of the local effects of global climate change, goes on to fill in the gaps with Western scientific knowledge, and ends with the dissemination of that information and its use for the development of adaptive strategies, policy recommendations, and advocacy.
To examine care of the dying elderly in a nursing home in Iceland.
An ethnographic study design was adopted. The study sample comprised all of the nursing home residents, their relatives, and all of the staff working in the nursing home, but with a particular focus on the 11 registered nurses (RNs) on the site. Data was collected through participant observation, semi-structured group interviews with the RNs, and an examination of the nursing home's official records. Underlying themes were discovered using interpretative phenomenology.
Two main themes emerged: that palliative care is the most important element of care in the home, and that RNs are the pillars of caring for the dying elderly in the nursing home.
The findings suggest that RNs' professional knowledge can greatly contribute to the care of dying elderly residents in nursing homes. There seem to be many parallels between the condition and wellbeing of very frail nursing home residents and patients in specialized palliative care units for the elderly. Public awareness of palliative care of the elderly in Icelandic nursing homes should be encouraged.
Acupuncture and other forms of so-called alternative treatments, originating outside the West, have increasingly become an integrated part of the repertoire of medical practices widely used in health care remote from their places of origin. The main aim of this paper is to elucidate the cultural translation of Chinese medical concepts in a Western, acupuncture setting located far from China. Drawing on material from ethnographic fieldwork in acupuncture schools in Norway, this study discusses how concepts used in Chinese acupuncture are taught and interpreted for biomedically oriented students. The paper concentrates on the concept of jingluo ('circulation tracts', 'meridians') which the schools considered to be vital in order to conduct acupuncture. Similar to several other Chinese medical concepts, jingluo presents claims about the body that significantly differ from biomedical assumptions. The paper adds novel resources and insights to the research concerning medical conceptions, in that it applies the perspective of 'finitism' as developed in the field of sociology of knowledge by Barnes, Bloor and Henry (1996) in its analysis. It presents an analysis of five empirical examples demonstrating how a variety of interpretations of jingluo--many of them from different fields and some of them contradictory--were involved in establishing jingluo. Finally, by examining examples of Chinese concepts of the body, the paper seeks to contribute to the wider field of the anthropology of the body as well as to add to our understanding of the ways in which medical pluralism and globalisation of acupuncture unfolds.
Alexander Leighton's seminal work has clearly demonstrated how ethnographic experience provides the rich cultural context in which epidemiological data are best interpreted. This article reviews recent trends in cultural epidemiology, and especially the emergence of the EMIC (Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue) as a quantitatively oriented tool designed to assess culture. It is suggested that such efforts do not reflect more recent trends in culture theory, and tend to view 'cultures' as easily bounded and largely homogenous units to facilitate the generation of quantitative data. It is argued that cultural epidemiologists should take a step back and ask, 'what is the culture in question here?' and 'how do I know if it is appropriate to place any given member of my sample into a specific cultural category?' before proceeding with any 'culturally appropriate' instrument. The answer to these questions begins with a return to ethnography as a means to elucidate and describe culture within the context in which it is being presented and studied.
Several studies have been published listing sources of practice knowledge used by nurses. However, the authors located no studies that asked clinicians to describe comprehensively and categorize the kinds of knowledge needed to practice or in which the researchers attempted to understand how clinicians privilege various knowledge sources. In this article, the authors report findings from two large ethnographic case studies in which sources of practice knowledge was a subsidiary theme. They draw on data from individual and card sort interviews, as well as participant observations, to identify nurses' sources of practice knowledge. Their findings demonstrate that nurses categorize their sources of practice knowledge into four broad groupings: social interactions, experiential knowledge, documents, and a priori knowledge. The insights gained add new understanding about sources of knowledge used by nurses and challenge the disproportionate weight that proponents of the evidence-based movement ascribe to research knowledge.
The article focuses on a component of a three-year institutional ethnography regarding the construction of cultural diversity in clinical education. Students in two Canadian schools of nursing described being a nursing student as bounded by unwritten and largely invisible expectations of homogeneity in the context of a predominant discourse of equality and cultural sensitivity. At the same time, they witnessed many incidents, both personally and those directed toward other individuals of the same culture, of clinical teachers problematizing difference and centering on difference as less than the expected norm. This complex and often contradictory experience of difference and homogeneity contributed to their construction of cultural diversity as a problem. The authors provide examples of how the perception of being different affected some students' learning in the clinical setting and their interactions with clinical teachers. They will illustrate that this occurred in the context of macro influences that shaped how both teachers and students experienced and perceived cultural diversity. The article concludes with a challenge to nurse educators to deconstruct their beliefs and assumptions about inclusivity in nursing education.
What are the sources and definitions of theological reflection developed by Canadian practitioners of pastoral care and counseling? This study is part of a larger qualitative research project on theological reflection. This research reviews the literature, describes the ethnographic method, and presents the findings with a sample of 75. Main sources are sacred texts, personal experience, experiences of clients, and traditions of faith group. Definitions are meaning making, discovering the divine and discipleship with recommendations for future research listed.