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By T.S. Harvey

"Sigmund Freud known as his detailed kind of treatment 'the conversing cure,' yet this can be the 1st time someone has had the ingenuity to determine the way it could be performed with silences. good, perhaps the second one time--leave it to the Mayans! That silence can kill is a widely known truth; that it's golden is commonly assumed; yet that it may be orchestrated in a socially significant manner, that takes excellent pitch. T. S. Harvey's landmark examine of acoustical therapeutic may well take a little time for its voice to be unheard, yet i'm confident that it'll grow to be a vintage in its field."--Roy Wagner, writer of Coyote Anthropology

The supply of overall healthiness care can current a minefield of conversation difficulties, really in cross-cultural settings the place sufferers and future health practitioners come from multiple cultures and converse diverse languages. Responding to the necessity for in-depth ethnographic stories in cultural and communicative competence, this anthropological account of Maya language use in healthiness care in highland Guatemala explores a number of the cultural and linguistic elements that could complicate conversation within the perform of medication. Bringing jointly the analytical instruments of linguistic and clinical anthropology, T. S. Harvey bargains a unprecedented comparative glimpse into Maya intra-cultural healing (Maya healer/Maya wellness-seeker) and cross-cultural biomedical (Ladino practitioner/Maya sufferer) interactions.

In Maya clinical encounters, the variety of members, the plurality in their voices, and the cooperative linguistic techniques that they hire to compose ailment narratives problem traditional analytical thoughts and phone into query a few easy assumptions approximately doctor-patient interactions. Harvey's leading edge technique, combining the "ethnography of polyphony" and its complementary method, the "polyphonic score," finds the complicated interaction of conversing and silence in the course of clinical encounters, sociolinguistic styles that aid us steer clear of scientific issues attached to clinical miscommunication.

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Extra info for Wellness Beyond Words: Maya Compositions of Speech and Silence in Medical Care

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To be persuasive the health announcement was designed to appeal to what the health professionals and researchers said were Maya cultural and socioeconomic sensibilities. As if speaking from a kind of guidebook to Planned Parenthood, the promoter told the group of Maya women and adolescent girls that to have fewer children was ultimately beneficial because it would mean having more resources at home to be distributed between fewer people. The message was simple; have fewer children, and those that you do have will be healthier because you will have more resources to care for them and thus, you will all have a better life in general.

But despite the familiarity that our incessant expeditions into these most human of interactions bring, for the ethnographer of language and culture much of this multiplicity seems to elude description. The operation of ethnographic and linguistic analysis is by conventional application an assimilation of the unmerged “stuff ” that constitutes experience, a distilling of full-valued voices and pluralistic experience into “objects” of inquiry. All too often the written descriptions of the speaking and expressing of the fullfledged subjects we encounter and interact with become, through our monologic descriptions and analytical preoccupation with fixity, the scientific artifacts of speech and expression in a textual world of lifeless things and meaning.

The potential of speaking, sensing, and expressing to condition other meanings (and be conditioned by them) lies in the indeterminacy of their fluidity or, to restate Erwin Straus’s point, in the “not yet” of these living interactions that already reaches into and out of the present. Any hope, therefore, of entering this world and understanding it through ethnography (see D. Hymes 1962; Spradley 1970; Briggs 1986; Tannen 1989) requires a description and an analysis that invokes movement, a movement that follows K’iche’ ways of speaking through multiple and diverse scenes of interaction.

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