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October 2021

Med Anthropol Q. 1998 Sep; 12(3): 341-55.

On the rationality of decision-making studies: Part 2: Divergent rationalities.

Garro LC.

Department of Anthropology, University of California at Los Angeles, USA.

A study of treatment decision making in an Anishinaabe community in Manitoba, Canada was designed to be comparable with an earlier project carried out in a Mexican town. One objective was to compare the resulting decision models. For both communities, a decision-making perspective was compatible with how individuals talked about actions taken in response to illness, and it proved to be a useful means for learning about the process of seeking care. At the same time, a decision-modeling approach is better suited to explaining treatment actions taken in the Mexican community than in the Anishinaabe community. I suggest that this finding reflects the variable potentiality, in the Anishinaabe community, for affliction and its treatment to be constructed within a cultural framework in which the underlying assumptions differ from those implicit in studies of decision modeling.

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