An Anthropology of Caregiving

  • Frances K. Barg
  • Shimrit Keddem
  • Wendy Shiekman Cohen
  • Rebecca Henderson
Part of the Caregiving: Research • Practice • Policy book series (CARE)


Anthropology is a lens through which we might understand the diversity of issues inherent in the ways that contemporary humans care for one another. The anthropology of caregiving provides an understanding of the range of behaviors, perceptions, and feelings associated with providing care for another person. Culture, a concept central to anthropology, comprises the implicit and explicit set of assumptions, behavioral guidelines, and interconnected beliefs that are shared by members of a society (Helman, Culture, health and illness, 2001). Culture shapes both the experience of illness and that of giving care, and informs the ways that these roles are perceived by others. Illness behaviors are often linked to social factors, gender norms, ethnic factors, and politics, as well as differences in philosophies, cultures, and in socioeconomic status (Brown and Barrett Understanding and applying medical anthropology, 2009). This chapter will explore fundamental concepts from medical anthropology and describe their contributions to our understanding of caregiving.


Family Caregiver Cultural Concept Medical Anthropology National Alliance Chronic Mental Illness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frances K. Barg
    • 1
  • Shimrit Keddem
    • 2
  • Wendy Shiekman Cohen
    • 2
  • Rebecca Henderson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Family Medicine and Community HealthUniversity of Pennsylvania School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.PhiladelphiaUSA

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