Illness Causation and Interpretation in a Newar Town

  • Madhusudan Subedi Central Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tribhuvan University and Patan Academy of Health Sciences
Keywords: Illness etiology, Newars, cosmology, carelessness, misfortune

Abstract

One of the core concerns of medical anthropology is to explore how people in different cultures and social groups explain the causes of ill health, the type of treatment they believe in, and to whom they turn if they do become ill. This article focuses on the understanding of illness causation by the Newars in Kirtipur and their concern about biological and socio-cultural aspects of healthy behavior, and particularly with the ways in which they have been coping in everyday life. The basic method of data collection for this study was formal and informal discussions with the elderly Newar males and females, followed by discussions with youths to explore the variations in their perceptions. The findings show that the understanding of illness etiology is multi-causal. The individual, natural, social, and supernatural causes are not mutually exclusive but are usually linked together in a particular case. In any specific case of illness, moreover, people’s explanatory model varies in how they explain its etiology.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3126/dsaj.v5i0.6358

Dhaulagiri Journal of Sociology and Anthropology Vol. 5, 2011: 101-120

 

 

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Author Biography

Madhusudan Subedi, Central Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tribhuvan University and Patan Academy of Health Sciences
Subedi, Madhusudan has been teaching at the Central Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tribhuvan University since 1996. He is Associate Professor of Patan Academy of Health Sciences (PAHS), an autonomous and not for profit health science university dedicated to improve the health status of the people of Nepal by producing doctors who are willing and able to provide health care to disadvantaged Nepalese living in rural area. Mr. Subedi holds an MA in Sociology from TU (1992) and M.Phil. in Social Anthropology from University of Bergen, Norway (2000). He has received intensive training course on ‘Primary Health Care’, ‘Qualitative Research in Health’, ‘Field Trail’, ‘Ethics in Health Research’ and ‘Survey Research Techniques’. Mr. Subedi has authored a book ‘Medical Anthropology of Nepal (2001)’, co-authored ‘Role of Natural Products in Resource Management, Poverty Alleviation and Good Governance: A Case Study of Jatamasi and Wintergreen Value Chains in Nepal (2006)’, and has published more than 20 articles in different academic journals. His areas of interests include Social Medicine, Pharmaceutical Anthropology, Indigenous Knowledge, Social Safeguard, Accountability, Inequalities in Education and Governance.
Published
2012-06-20
How to Cite
Subedi, M. (2012). Illness Causation and Interpretation in a Newar Town. Dhaulagiri Journal of Sociology and Anthropology, 5, 101-120. https://doi.org/10.3126/dsaj.v5i0.6358
Section
Articles