Health, Culture and Religion – University of Copenhagen

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Health, Culture and Religion

Health, Culture and Religion is a research platform at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies (ToRS), which seek to further and advance the study of health from the perspective of the human sciences. The premise of the platform is that health must be seen as interwoven with the cultural and social reality of which it by necessity is part.

Culture and religion thus provide the historical and socially conditioned set of distinctions through which the world is perceived. A number of these cultural distinctions provide a framework that is crucial both to the medical staff as well as patents. Examples of such distinctions are: body/mind, medicine/alternative medicine, sane/insane, normal/abnormal, healthy/pathologic, acceptability of medical practices as circumcision, blood-donation, abortion, donation and birth control. Both the staff of the health system as well as patients maneuver within a cultural framework. A globalized word has furthered the need to overcome the challenge of cross-cultural communication. In addition, recent medical research shows significant correlation between health and cultural and religious background. In the medical sciences, the realization that health is culturally dependent as led calls for cultural responsive care and treatment as well as attention to the cross-cultural communication in the health system.

The research at ToRS is characterized by specialists who have a thorough understanding of culture and religion in Denmark as well as most of the world that lie outside Western Europe and North America. The platform seeks to establish cooperation with researchers from Health and Medicine and welcomes all researchers with an interest in an inter-disciplinary approach to Health, Culture and Religion. The platform encourages cross-cultural as well as historical studies of these areas.