Research

Culture and Health

This Lancet research paper explores the importance of culture for our perceptions and experiences of health and wellbeing.

We variously use the word arts or culture to define the territory in which we work. Both are problematic and ambiguous in meaning. This research paper published by the Lancet explores the importance of culture for our perceptions and experiences of health and wellbeing. The authors ask What is Culture? and they quote the anthropologist, Robert Redfield’s definition: “conventional understandings, manifest in act and artefact”, which focuses on shared understandings and the practices that are based on those understandings that make sense of beliefs held in common with others. They also quote anthropologist Fedrick Barth, who: “once metaphorically called culture an empty vessel – a concept defined at its peripheries. The vessel’s walls are tangible – they separate inside and out, and give shape to contents that might be less easily defined.” They suggest that a medical humanities approach could be used to reshape medicine and health care. The article helps place our endeavours in a much wider context of re-defining the relationship between culture and health and wellbeing.

Download the report: Culture and Health

The image is of the painting ‘Multicultural’ by the American artist Robert Daniels whose work can be found on Fine Art America.

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