Health and anthropology: contributions to the interpretation of the human condition in the health sciences

Tullio Seppilli

The interpretation of the health/disease process has been marked by positivism and by the natural sciences. Western medicine/health has focused almost exclusively on the biological dimensions of pathologies, delimiting cognitive and operational successes, biology representing the true proof of rigor and objectivity. The modulating function in relation to the organic defenses used to be enacted by the psychic dimensions, the dimension of subjectivity being the place of the active intermediation, in each individual, between the relational and biological spheres. The recognition of the behavioral and sociocultural factors was developed outside the medical-institutional field, following lines of investigation of the psychological and anthropological disciplines. The text tries to outline that an effective scientific design of the studies about man can only be founded on a systemic approach, in which the biological and historical-social levels, which organize the human condition and realize its relation to the context, need to be examined and interpreted in their relations of integration, in their reciprocal autonomy and specificity.

Medical anthropology; Human sciences; Culture and health; Health education; Education and health culture

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