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Am J Psychiatry. 1989 May;146(5):588-96.

An ethnomedical perspective of Anglo-American psychiatry.

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Department of Psychiatry and Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA 15213-2593.


Although psychiatry is part of Western biomedicine and its roots in neurobiology are widely appreciated, Anglo-American psychiatry addresses social behavior that is deviant and potentially stigmatizing and is said to uniquely engage in social control. Moreover, its concerns overlap and compete with those of other regulatory institutions of the state. For these reasons, the manner in which psychiatry operates is subject to challenge, criticism, and controversy. The author proposes that a look at psychiatry from the vantage point of ethnomedicine--the comparative study of medical systems--can enhance an appreciation of the current controversies in psychiatry and psychiatry's role as a medical institution.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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