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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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I. Acknowledgements

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I gratefully acknowledge the support and help of many individuals and several institutions who supported me on various occasions during the last years. I am indebted to their help, criticism and encouragement.

First of all, I am indebted to my PhD-thesis supervisor Prof. Dr. Michael J. Casimir (this book is based on my PhD-thesis, University of Cologne 2013). The German term “Doktorvater” is a nice description, for it reveals a deeper insight in how the relationship between teacher and student can be shaped ideally. I am happy to have found a teacher who supported me throughout my study in waking my curiosity in Cultural Anthropology and especially in Medical Anthropology, but who also became a good friend and advisor. He not only was a dedicated teacher to me, but he is also constantly a critical and inspiring discussion partner.

Additionally, my thanks go to my second supervisor, Prof. Dr. Michael Bollig, who also encouraged me in my endeavours, provided me with useful contacts and established far-reaching academic relationships.

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