Anthropologists have a long history of using specific life histories to study the culture and history beyond the person. This article explores how life history can be used to the study of contemporary Chinese medicine and its modern history. Anthropological approaches to life history, such as close attention to narrative pattern in its cultural context, provide profitable theoretical framework in the analysis of elaborated life histories. The life story of a Chinese medicine doctor in this paper was collected in the early 1990’s, when China (and Chinese medicine) was in transition from Maoist socialism to reformist capitalism. Focusing on both the particular stories told and the cultural circumstances of story telling, I argue that the dynamic relationship between life histories and a broader history is a distinct characteristic of the narration.To focus on a cultural pattern while examining how life stories are constructed and interpreted leads us toward a better understanding of a cultural history.
|Keywords:||Life History, Narrative Analysis, Traditional Chinese Medicine|
Assistant Professor, Department of Health Education, The Institute of Holistic Studies, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA