A Life History Study of Chinese Medicine

By Jun Wang.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.171-180. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 805.920KB).

Dr. Jun Wang

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Education, The Institute of Holistic Studies, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA

Jun Wang, Ph.D., C.M.D., L.Ac., is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Education and the Institute for Holistic Health Studies at San Francisco State University. She has a bachelor degree in traditional Chinese medicine from Beijing Capital Medical School, China and a Ph.D. in medical anthropology from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her post-doc research on integrative medicine took place in Korean Oriental Medicine School, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, South Korea. Her current teaching and research interests are traditional Chinese medicine, East Asian medicines and culture; herbal medicine; body-mind energetics, and integrative medicine.