A question of medicine answering - Health Commodification and the Social Relations of Healing in Sri Lanka

Mark Nichter, Carolyn Nordstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


Biomedicine although institutionally powerful in Sri Lanka has not been able to depersonalize illness or promote a notion of treatment efficacy disconnected from social relations. An ideology of healing crosscuts the trend toward health commodification. This paper focuses on three concepts fundamental to the interactive dynamics of treatment efficacy: constitution, habit, and power of the hand. A movement between two distinct types of health care seeking behavior is described. One is inspired by finding the right medicine fix, the other by finding a practitioner having a sensitivity toward one's sense of person and all this entails.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-390
Number of pages24
JournalCulture, Medicine and Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1989


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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