There are many different theories and applications regarding medical anthropology and the future of medical anthropology. Medical anthropology, the study of health, illness, and healing from cultural and cross-cultural perspectives, is still a mystery to many people. However, as medical anthropology studies move into and mix with mainstream medical studies the value of the field as applied to contemporary health, illness and healing studies is becoming ever more apparent. I see the future of medical anthropology as becoming a source of reference and knowledge applicable to contemporary medicine. An example of this partnership is an abstract written by Jane Macnaughton and Andrew Russell for the 15th Anniversary Conference of the Work Group in Medical Anthropology of the German Anthropological Association. The abstract drew on anthropological research on tobacco addiction, contemporary views of smoking, and current research on tobacco companies. (Macnaughton)
The second question asks about cross-cultural standards of feminine beauty, specifically the marker of plumpness, or lack thereof, as a standard for beauty. In many cultures outside the United States, women who are plump are seen as beautiful. In contrast, women within U.S. culture expect to have to achieve a lean thinness to be seen as beautiful. In other cultures where food and material items are not as readily available in the high quantities as in the U.S., having a wife or daughter who can maintain plumpness shows she is taken care of and is an indication of success for the husband or father. This tells us that cross-cultural standards of beauty are intricately linked to cultural lifestyles.
Macnaughton, Jane. Exploring the ‘interstices’ – medical anthropology in Vienna. 3 December 2012. Blog. 29 April 2013.