On the Collecting of Data Concerning Primitive Medicine


During the 16th and 17th centuries, according to the article by Erwin H. Ackerknecht, Europeans began studying more primitive people.  Among all of the other social and structural topics they covered in their observations, a large part of their studies focused on the medical aspects of the communities.

In this day and age, we have lost the drive and interest in studying the medical practices of less technologically advanced communities.  It can be assumed that the reason are either because ethnographers are intimidated by the complexities of medicine, or because Western cultures believe they cannot develop further if they look back on methods that involve many of the practices that modern medicine disposed of.  The truth is, there are more than just physical diseases and surgical procedures to pay attention to.

Ackerknecht argues in his article that there is still plenty to document about culture and medicine.  Ethnographers have more than the capability to observe and record the many ways that people handle a sick person(s), or how diseases and their treatments relate to economic problems in the community.  These studies could provide a great amount of insight that we could use towards improving upon areas of our current society and expanding our knowledge for further anthropological studies.