Allopathy is often described as 'western' medicine, the antithesis of homeopathy, yet all medical systems are infused with culture-specific values, ideas and beliefs. Agnes Loeffler's insightful and original book investigates how allopathic knowledge, theories and practice guidelines come to be understood and applied by practitioners in a non-western context. Based on research amongst doctors in Iran, Loeffler describes how the system of allopathic medicine has adapted to local explanations of health and disease and to the economic, social and religio-political realities framing contemporary Iranian life and culture. This approach simultaneously problematizes the view of allopathic medicine as a 'western' entity exerting a hegemonic influence over non-western cultures, and provides a rare glimpse of the complexities of modern Iran society - exploring the interfaces between culture, health and the experience of illness.
Agnes G. Loeffler is Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Wisconsin, USA.
1. Introduction; 2. The Contexts of Fieldwork; PART ONE: Iranian Conceptualizations of Health and Disease; 3. Iranian Explanations for Ill Health; 4. Key Concepts: Nature, Purity and Balance in Relation to Health; 5. How Allopathic Knowledge and Practice are Interpreted in Distinctly Iranian Terms; PART TWO: The Contexts of Medical Practice; 6. The Economic Context of Allopathic Practice; 7. Roots of Authority: Knowledge; 8. The Relationship of 'Elm to Medical Practice; 9. Medical Knowledge and Islamic Ideals; Conclusion.