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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123


HERKOVITS, Damián. The frontiers of medicalization: tensions surrounding the identification and appreciation of child malnutrition in a primary healthcare center of the city of Buenos Aires. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.9, pp.2543-2551. ISSN 1678-4561.

The medicalization of life and its implications for the production of subjectivities are phenomena that have been highlighted by the human sciences in the study of health and disease. Nevertheless, the analysis of its local expressions has been insufficiently covered. The scope of this paper is to explore this field by an ethnographical study of the medicalization process of child malnutrition in a primary healthcare center of the city of Buenos Aires. We will describe analytically the singularities involved in the body perception and the alimentary context by health professionals and their patients. We emphasize that the criteria of perception and moral values that encourage social positions of health professionals and recipients of their actions precluded the institutionalization of a medical vision. We conclude that the process analyzed highlights the need to exceed the medicalization approaches dealing exclusively from the angle of imposition. The social history of the groups involved and ways of establishing relationships in local settings, are essential to understand the peculiarities of these processes.

Keywords : Nutrition; Body; Child malnutrition; Conflict; Medicalization.

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