- Alien origins: xenophilia and the rise of medical anthropology in the Netherlands
- Anthropology & Medicine
- Volume | Issue number
- 19 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The beginnings of medical anthropology in the Netherlands have a ‘xenophile’ character in two respects. First, those who started to call themselves medical anthropologists in the 1970s and 1980s were influenced and inspired not so much by anthropological colleagues, but by medical doctors working in tropical countries who had shown an interest in the role of culture during their medical work. Secondly, what was seen as medical anthropology in those early days almost always took place in ‘foreign’ countries and cultures. One can hardly overestimate the exoticist character of medical anthropology up to the 1980s. It was almost automatic for anthropologists to take an interest in medical issues occurring in another cultural setting, while overlooking the same issues at home. Medical anthropology ‘at home’ started only around 1990. At present, medical anthropology in the Netherlands is gradually overcoming its xenophile predilection.
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