Book

Interpreting signs of illness: a case study in medical semiotics

Mouton de GruyterBerlin • Published In 1986 • Pages: 18, 284

By: Staiano-Ross, Kathryn.

Abstract
The primary emphasis in this work is to present a study of the medical beliefs and practices of the Garifuna or Garifunas living in the town of Punta Gorda in Belize. There is much information here on various types of medical practitioners, diagnosis of disease, and forms of treatment for specific diseases. Staiano, using the concepts of semiotic theory as the basis of her analytic framework, explores the processes of communication, interpretation and negotiation among the Garifuna and examines the way in which signs of health and illness '...serve as metaphors, functioning to represent an object, event, or relationship whose association to the sign itself is never obvious, or as metonyms, acting to 'stand for' some greater whole' (p. xi). Since the Garifuna do not live in isolation from other ethnic groups, nor are they ignorant of Western medicine, this source also presents much information on conflict and competition among biomedical, ethnomedical and sacred medical paradigms, but at the same time showing in the overview how co-existence, co-optation, and to a lesser degree cooperation, can emerge as well.
Subjects
Theoretical orientation in research and its results
Theory of disease
Medical therapy
Medical care
Magical and mental therapy
Ethnic stratification
Household
Medical personnel
Organized ceremonial
Spirits and gods
culture
Garifuna
HRAF PubDate
2005
Region
Middle America and the Caribbean
Sub Region
Central America
Document Type
Book
Evaluation
Ethnologist, Linguist-5
Analyst
John Beierle ; 1989-1991
Coverage Date
1960-1984
Coverage Place
Punta Gorda, Belize
Notes
[by] Kathryn Vance Staiano
Includes bibliographical references (p. 263-268) and index
LCCN
85029337
LCSH
Garifuna (Caribbean people)