The end of the affair? Anthropology can initiate new methods for understanding
Salma Siddique (University of St Andrews)
Paper short abstract:
Is it the end of the affair for teaching alternative discourses of understanding and treating ill-health in higher education? Anthropology can offer creative ways of blurring the boundaries of dualistic education to challenge this assertion.
Paper long abstract:
The title of this panel paper has been taken from Graham Greene's I951 novel of the same name. The narrative of text acts as an analogy for the love quadrangle between the wife, husband, lover and God and mirrors the complex relationship between the body, society, the medical profession and higher education. The colonizing discourses of medicine have served to reduce and normalize the body and our experience of it. The work and products of science (Latour and Woolgar, 1979) are creating degrees of intolerance and reducing the scale of diversity in teaching, research and learning of different indigenous and traditional knowledge. On the other hand socio-economic shifts and uncertainty about the future mean that more and more individuals are willing to make the 'leap of faith' away from the biomedicine of evidence based objectivity to complementary medicine. Humanistic disciplines can reconcile the split through methodological approaches of holism and cultural relativism since they build on existing cognitive landscapes of knowledge for new ways of understanding the world. Although some courses such as counselling and complementary and alternative medicine are being removed from the curriculum in higher education because of the perceived lack of an evidence base this does not mean 'the end of the affair'. Anthropology can offer creative ways of blurring the boundaries of eurocentric dualistic education.This paper will examine my experience of teaching anthropology/ psycho-social aspects to life science students.
Anthropology in and of education: implications for representations of human nature