Description - Social and Cultural Lives of Immune Systems by James M. Wilce
Social and Cultural Lives of Immune Systems introduces a provocative new hypothesis in medico-social theory - the theory that immunity and disease are in part socially constituted, and that immune systems function not just as biological entities but also as symbolic concepts charged with political significance. Bridging elements of psychology, sociology, body theory, immunology and medical anthropology, twelve papers from leading scholars explicate some of the health-hazards of emotional and social pressure, whilst analysing the semiotic and social responses to the imagery of immunity. Is it possible, as some experts now claim, that the terminology of immunity, dependent upon the defense of the self from the invasion by an alian other, has entered modern consciousness to a point where it serves as a metaphor and indicator of wider political strategy? Can immunological rhetoric genuinely be shown to affect military operations, crime policy and international food distribution?
If this is the case, what conclusions can be drawn from the fact that tactics of disclosure, emotional openness and inclusion are clinically proven to boost immunity, whereas division, denial and containment - apparently modelled on the activities of immune cells - ironically raise susceptibility to disease? Possibly the first cultural analysis of embodiment to give close attention to immune function, and certainly one of the first studies of immunology, disease and healing to look seriously at concepts of the social self, it offers a comprehensive framework for future study in an exciting new area. James Wilce, Roger Booth, Kathryn Davison, Seamus Decker, Barry England, Mark Flinn, Laurence J Kirmayer, Margot Lyon, Samuel J. Mann, Emily Martin, Thom McDade, Daniel Moerman, David Napier, James Pe
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(229mm x 152mm x mm)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
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Author Biography - James M. Wilce
Jim Wilce has been Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Northern Arizona University since 1994. His anthropology graduate studies, fieldwork, and his first book - Eloquence in Trouble: Poetics and Politics of Complaining in Bangladesh - combined his lifelong interests in language, illness, and healing. He has been working to develop a sociocultural perspective on psychoneuroimmunology and its role in symbolic healingsince 1990. His article on language and healing has appeared in Journal of Linguistic Anthropology (1999) and has been reprinted twice, and his work in psychiatric anthropology has appeared in Cultural Anthropology, and the forthcoming volume, The edge of Experience: Culture, Subjectivity, and Schizophrenia (Cambridge University Press, 2003). Wilce lived in Bangledesh for five years in the 1980s and 1990s. He did fieldwork in the Chandpur and Comilla Districts, focusing on suffering and its discursive expressions in domestic and medical settings. He has focused particular attention on spontaneously improvised laments once heard commonly in Bangladesh and around the world. His article on lament appeared in Comparative Studies in Society and History (2001) and his new book on this topic, Crying Shame, should appear in 2005.