The High Plains Society
Applied Anthropology

An Ethnographic History of an Illness in a Hasidic Jewish Community

David J. Rozen

This paper narrates the history of an illness in a Hasidic Jewish community within the conceptual framework of post modernistic, critical medical anthropology. Hasidic Jewish illness beliefs and the socio-cultural context of Hasidic Jewish society are outlined. The author, as a resident in the Hasidic community of Shtetlville (a pseudonym) documents, sometimes on a daily basis, the historical process mediating symbolic and non-symbolic aspects of medical procedures and outcomes during an illness crisis (a pregnancy that becomes an illness). Multiple discourses and forms of social control are encountered by a woman and her “therapy management group” as they struggle to cope with a problematic health-care delivery system. Finally, the paper revisits the anthropological concept of patronage as a model of human relations in systems of resource inequality.

High Plains Applied Anthropologist No. 1, Vol. 24, Spring, 2004 pp 11 – 20

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