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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

Print version ISSN 1413-8123

Abstract

CASTRO, Edna Aparecida Barbosa de  and  CAMARGO JUNIOR, Kenneth Rochel de. Ethnography of health care after hospital discharge. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2008, vol.13, suppl.2, pp. 2075-2088. ISSN 1413-8123.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232008000900012.

This paper presents an analysis of how Clifford Geertz' anthropological approach contributes to studies and investigations on health care. Geertz' approach relies basically on a semiotic conception of culture adopting thick description as the axis for interpretive elaborations and defending cultural interpretation as a science allowing to understand processes and to construct knowledge. We will present an overview of some constitutive elements of that author's thoughts we consider relevant for understanding the human experience of dealing with the disease/health process. The challenging question is how families deal with the need to provide care to a diseased relative after hospital discharge. We use this issue as an excuse for expounding this theoretical approach, interweaving the two areas. The micro-focus is the kind of healthcare that takes place outside the cultural environment where the technical forms of care based on scientific knowledge occur. We will briefly discuss how this question becomes evident in an object of study, and how it can be investigated according to the ethnography proposed by Geertz (op. cit.), allowing, in the end, for some considerations that further contribute to the construction of knowledge in public health.

Keywords : Ethnology; Cultural interpretation; Health care.

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