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September 2022

Soc Sci Med. 1988 ; 27(5): 505-13.

Modes of production and medicine: an examination of the theory in light of Sherpa medical traditionalism.

Adams V.

Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.

Since medical ideologies and socio-economic systems are interdependent, anthropologists have described the tendency of people in developing countries to become more committed to Western medicine as they become more involved in capitalist production. This paper examines the interdependence of socio-economic and medical systems by suggesting explanations for the persistent use of traditional medicine by Nepalese Sherpas who are drawn into the world capitalist economy through tourism. The analysis offers insight on the political economy of health in developing societies by addressing the need to scrutinize variations in pre-capitalist social structures, experience of development, and the practices of traditional healers.

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