Anthropological Methods Used in Kuru Research

  • Shirley LindenbaumEmail author
Part of the Neuromethods book series (NM, volume 129)


This historical account of the methods used by anthropologists studying kuru from 1961 to 2010 illustrates the identity of anthropology as both a humanist and natural science. To understand and analyze complex historical processes anthropologists employ both interpretive and explanatory research methods. This chapter documents the emergence of medical anthropology as a subfield in anthropology, changes that have taken place in the collaborative relations between anthropology and medicine, and importance of the political context in Papua New Guinea, all of which have had an impact on the research methods of anthropologists and medical investigators. Fore forms of health care have also changed as local therapists adopt some aspects of biomedicine while retaining a belief that sorcerers cause illness and death, a theory that supports their own methods of investigation.

Key words

Anthropology Humanism Natural science Medical anthropology History Kuru Papua New Guinea 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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