Pain and Bodies
Author(s)Jackson, Jean E.
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INTRODUCTION The topic of pain offers a treasure trove of anthropological research projects that pose intriguing intellectual challenges. To begin with an obvious point, pain, especially chronic pain, is a hugely important issue: 40 percent of patients seeking medical attention cite pain as the reason; approximately 45 percent of people will experience chronic pain at some point during their lives (Taylor 2006: 237); an estimated 86 million Americans have some form of chronic pain (Sullivan 2007: 263); and over US $100 billion is spent yearly in treatment-related costs and lost-work productivity due to chronic pain (Sullivan 2007: 268). Also, pain medicine intersects in complex, anthropologically fascinating ways with powerful institutions like the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, and government. Another reason to encourage more research is that new insights emerging from social science investigations can potentially ameliorate the distress experienced by pain sufferers and those around them.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Anthropology Program
A Companion to the Anthropology of the Body and Embodiment
Jackson, Jean E. "Pain and Bodies" in A Companion to the Anthropology of the Body and Embodiment, Frances E. Mascia-Lees (Editor), Chapter 21, Wiley-Blackwell, May 2011.
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