The Context of Medicines in Developing Countries

Studies in Pharmaceutical Anthropology

  • Sjaak van der Geest
  • Susan Reynolds Whyte

Part of the Culture, Illness, and Healing book series (CIHE, volume 12)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Susan Reynolds Whyte, Sjaak Van Der Geest
      Pages 3-11
  3. The Transaction of Medicines

  4. The Meaning of Medicines

About this book


Western pharmaceuticals are flooding the Third World. Injections, capsules and tablets are available in city markets and village shops, from 'traditional' practitioners and street vendors, as well as from more orthodox sources like hospitals. Although many are aware of this 'pharmaceutical invasion', little has been written about how local people perceive and use these products. This book is a first attempt to remedy that situation. It presents studies of the ways Western medicines are circulated and understood in the cities and rural areas of Africa, Asia and Latin America. We feel that such a collection is long overdue for two reasons. The first is a practical one: people dealing with health problems in developing countries need information about local situations and they need examples of methods they can use to examine the particular contexts in which they are working. We hope that this book will be useful for pharmacists, doctors, nurses, health planners, policy makers and concerned citizens, who are interested in the realities of drug use. Why do people want various kinds of medicine? How do they evaluate and choose them and how do they obtain them? The second reason for these studies of medicines is to fill a need in medical anthropology as a field of study. Here we address our colleagues in anthropol­ ogy, medical sociology and related disciplines.


Hydra anthropology drug health hospital medicine pregnancy research sociology

Editors and affiliations

  • Sjaak van der Geest
    • 1
  • Susan Reynolds Whyte
    • 2
  1. 1.Antropologisch-Sociologisch CentrumUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institut for Etnologi og AntropologiUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen K.Denmark

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1988
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-94-010-7722-4
  • Online ISBN 978-94-009-2713-1
  • About this book