Open Access Dissertation
Date of Award
THE DIAGNOSIS NARRATIVES & THE HEALING RITUAL
by JAMES PETER MEZA
Advisor: Dr. Andrea Sankar
Major: Anthropology (medical)
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
The goal of this dissertation was to describe healing practices in the setting of clinical encounters between patients and doctors. The theoretical background for this research began with the theory of the mind and using concepts from cognitive anthropology described the anthropological self as distinguished from person or identity. Additionally, the conceptual framework of cognitive anthropology was used to describe narrative theory. Narrative theory in the form of the narrative structure of experience, particularly the experience of ritual formed the basis for investigation.
The fieldwork setting was a urological practice and all of the clinical sites associated with this practice, including two hospitals, satellite clinics, related disciplines of urogynecologic oncology and radiation oncology. The majority of the data was obtained using participant observation. Analysis was accomplished by sorting the data using Atlas ti v6.2 and generating themes by codes. These themes were then re-examined using the theoretical framework.
The major finding was that diagnosis narratives were an essential part of the healing ritual. This was in contrast to current anthropological emphasis on illness narratives. The theoretical and practical aspects of these findings were discussed in the results. Diagnosis narratives contributed to the healing ritual and successful completion of the ritual resulted in healing relationships.
This research has implication for future anthropological research using narrative theory for investigating narrative components of healing rituals in Western biomedicine. Additionally, it has applications for cultural communication in clinical practice.
Meza, James Peter, "The Diagnosis Narratives & The Healing Ritual" (2013). Wayne State University Dissertations. 848.