: Cultural Insolubilities

in Mixed Medicines

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780226031637
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226031651 | DOI:
: Cultural Insolubilities

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This chapter asks whether an effective Western medical system actually was constructed in Cambodia by the end of the colonial period. The Assistance Médicale effectively functioned in Cambodia from 1907 to 1940. It is observed that colonialism clearly had a profound effect on the structure of scientific and medical research. The gulf in conceptualizations of illness between colonizer and colonized arose with the growth of microbiology and revolution in germ theory in the West. Cambodia still has a multiplicity of thriving medical traditions. Most births and deaths still occur in the home. The overwhelming majority of Khmers turn to traditional medicine before resorting to Western medicine or visiting the hospital. Bringing the many characters' stories together draws attention to the vast ontological gap between Khmer and French understandings of medicine, but also to the unexpected similarities in internal social dynamics within different cultural spheres.

Keywords: Western medical system; Cambodia; Assistance Médicale; colonialism; illness; Khmers; traditional medicine; Western medicine

Chapter.  4265 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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