AN ETHNOGRAPHIC ACCOUNT OF A CONTEMPORARY REMOTE URBAN INDIGENOUS ETHNOMEDICAL SYSTEM AND THE SOCIO-CLINICAL REALITY SHAPED BY THE RESERVE DWELLERS AND THE HOSPITAL RESIDENTS IN THE 1980s

Robyn Mobbs (2009). AN ETHNOGRAPHIC ACCOUNT OF A CONTEMPORARY REMOTE URBAN INDIGENOUS ETHNOMEDICAL SYSTEM AND THE SOCIO-CLINICAL REALITY SHAPED BY THE RESERVE DWELLERS AND THE HOSPITAL RESIDENTS IN THE 1980s PhD Thesis, School of Social Science, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Robyn Mobbs
Thesis Title AN ETHNOGRAPHIC ACCOUNT OF A CONTEMPORARY REMOTE URBAN INDIGENOUS ETHNOMEDICAL SYSTEM AND THE SOCIO-CLINICAL REALITY SHAPED BY THE RESERVE DWELLERS AND THE HOSPITAL RESIDENTS IN THE 1980s
School, Centre or Institute School of Social Science
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009-08
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr John Bradley
Total pages 425
Total colour pages 4
Total black and white pages 421
Subjects 16 Studies in Human Society
Abstract/Summary This ethnographic study in medical anthropology is a critically interpretative analysis of fieldwork documentation I recorded during field research conducted in the mining city of Mount Isa in the far northwest of Queensland during the 1980s. Eighteen months of participant observation research was undertaken over four fieldtrips (1981-82, 1983, 1985 and 1988) at inter-connected locations: two urban reserves for Aborigines and the people I refer to as the Reserve Dwellers, as well as the local hospital and a group of hospital resident medical officers who I refer to as the Residents. During the field research I found that both Reserve Dwellers and the Residents experienced a difficult relationship during their interactions in medical consultations in the hospital clinics. Now in this dissertation I ask an overarching question of my time-lag field data. It is How can we understand the problematic relationship between indigenous reserve-dwelling help-seekers and biomedical practitioners at their local hospital clinics in the 1980s. To describe this problematic relationship I analyse time-lag data from my diaried participant observation at both the reserves and the hospital; semi-structured interviews with the hospital Residents; case studies and case histories of consenting help-seekers from the Reserves; and illustrative transcriptions of consultations between Residents and Reserve Dwellers that were tape recorded by the Residents during hospital clinics. The contemporary ethnomedical system of the Reserve Dwellers was inclusive of biomedicalized clinics and the Residents as clinicians at this remote hospital in the 1980s. I provide an ethnographic account of a changing contemporary indigenous ethnomedical system and describe the lifeways of the Reserve Dwellers in the 1980s; their pattern of help-seeking at their local hospital including grievous happenings; and their experiences in outpatients clinics and the emergency section of the local non-indigenous hospital. Their lifeways and help-seeking were in many ways defined by the collective sociality of Kalkadunga and other regional indigenous cultures as impoverished, very sick survivors of a genocidal contact history less than 100 years before. This local history is also reconstructed. The Residents view of local indigenous illness, help-seeking, and experiences of biomedicalised hospital clinics further describe the socio-cultural reality of the time. I found that the Residents had an insightful, even predictive assessment of local illness burden. At the same time, they held strong views about a pattern of help-seeking in the outpatients and emergency clinics that was considered disruptive of hospital routines. I also describe how they expressed their difficulties interacting with Aboriginal help-seekers including the taking of biomedical histories. My thesis is that a localized socio-clinical reality was shaped by a synchronic, coeval relationship between Reserve Dwellers enculturated within a changing, contemporary ethnomedical belief system that incorporated biomedicalized hospital clinics, and the Residents as clinicians enculturated within a culture of biomedical science at a remote hospital. I argue that the lifeways and pattern of help-seeking of the Reserve Dwellers, as well as the Residents’ views about sick indigenous help-seekers, formed this particular socio-clinical reality. It was then consistently replicated by problematic socio-clinical interaction and biomedicalized praxis that inhibited investigation and curative outcomes for the Reserve Dwellers and other indigenous help-seekers.
Keyword Aboriginal health and hospitals, indigenous lifeways, indigenous help-seeking, socio-clinical reality
Additional Notes 140 141 143 184

 
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Created: Tue, 24 Nov 2009, 11:21:50 EST by Ms Robyn Mobbs on behalf of Library - Information Access Service