Illness and other forms of misfortune are ubiquitous; thus, healing and care giving are equally universal. Ironically, however, little attention has been paid to the identity of those who heal or promote well-being. These roles come in many guises: healing may be highly professional and specialized, or far less formal; some societies are most concerned with prevention, while others focus on intervention. Based on rich and wide-ranging ethnographic data, and especially written for this volume, these essays look at the self-fashioning of a wide variety of healers and promoters of well-being, whether acupuncturists or physicians, diviners or nursing home providers. Conversely, the authors also ask how caregivers are viewed by others, and how their identities are influenced by wider social and cultural factors. As these essays demonstrate, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or state policy may all play formative roles in shaping the definition of health and well-being, how they are delivered, and the character and prestige of those who provide for our health and welfare in society.
Publisher: Berghahn Books