How Can Anthropology Help Solve Social Problems

In an article recently published in the Great Lakes College Association/Global Liberal Arts Alliance Consortium for Teaching and Learning, Assistant Professor Karen Powell Sears addressed a question: How can students’ demonstrate and share their learning about social problems beyond the classroom setting?

In my Sex and Gender in Society course, students were asked to identify a social issue related to gender, and create a digital audio-visual campaign aimed at promoting greater social awareness of this issue among a target audience.

Developed specifically to help public health specialists convince people to act more rationally—to use preventive services, obey doctor' orders, or use medical services `appropriately'—such theories evaluate health beliefs for their proximity to empirically correct knowledge concerning the seriousness of particular disorders or the efficacy of particular behaviors or therapies.

The wealth of meanings associated with illness in local cultures is thus reduced to a set of propositions held by individual actors, which are in turn evaluated in relation to biomedical knowledge.

Contemporary approaches in medical anthropology study relationships between cultural and social structures, people's beliefs about cause, course, cure and prevention, and their health behavior.

How Can Anthropology Help Solve Social Problems 4 College Essays That Stand Out From The Crowd

`Culture' extends to issues of power, control, resistance and defiance as well, and anthropology seeks to understand the links between social stratification (gender, ethnicity, social class), access to material and immaterial goods (food, water, health services, education), illness representations, cultural constructions of femininity and masculinity, attitudes to health promotion, and health behavior.

Health education emphasizes the importance of a systematic analysis of determinants of health behaviors, and the consequent development and evaluation of interventions.

Predominant models in this field, such as the Health Belief Model and the Theory of Reasoned Action (Rosenstock, 1974; Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975; Ajzen, 1988, 1991), are based on understanding behavior of individuals within the paradigms of social psychology and health psychology.

A dialogue between health promoters and their target population may help solve the problem of ethnocentrism in broadly scoped interventions.

Changing people's health behavior is a major challenge for public health workers, particularly when interventions focus on people whose social, cultural, ethnic or economic circumstances differ from health professionals' own backgrounds.


Comments How Can Anthropology Help Solve Social Problems

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