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Chinese Medical Concepts in Urban China

Change and Persistence

Martin Böke

Popular assertions proclaim a tradition of Chinese medicine spanning several thousand years. But is this really important for today’s China? Is Chinese medicine relevant for the modern, cosmopolitan urban Chinese today? And, as the political system has changed dramatically during the last century, do these changes influence people’s estimation of illnesses? Combining both a quintessential analysis of the relationship between emotions and health in different texts on Chinese medicine and empirical data consisting of quantitative and qualitative components, the author demonstrates that different social groups of urban dwellers share different opinions on Chinese medicine and its illness concepts, particularly those concepts commonly referred to as Seven Emotions. Education, age and gender are relevant categories for the evaluation of Chinese medicine, especially considering emotions such as stress or depression.
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Martin Böke studied Cultural Anthropology, Sinology, History and Geography in Cologne and Beijing. For his doctoral thesis he was awarded a scholarship from the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School of the Humanities in Cologne. He currently is a teaching assistant at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Cologne.

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