Reading Response 1

What are examples of Kleinman’s “illness” as subjective lived experience of a disorder? 

Arthur Kleinman’s definition of “illness” is “how the sick person and the members of the family or wider social network perceive, live with, and respond to symptoms and disability.” Illness problems arise from the disorder that cause disruptions in the sick person and their family member’s lives. Some examples Kleinman brings up when defining “illness” include headaches disrupting workflow, leading to feelings of frustration, or disfigurement leading to worsening body image and self esteem. These illness complaints are what the sick person brings up to their practitioner to help them cope and go back to a “normal” life. 


Why is it important to distinguish “sickness” from both “illness” and “disease?”

Kleinman’s definition of “sickness” extrapolates the experiences a sick person and their family members goes through but across a macrosocial population. This distinction is important as the way a society perceives the sick person can shape the manner of how the sick person describes their complaints to their practitioner. The way a society views a disorder also alters the way practitioners view and interpret symptoms.


Kleinman refers to “radically materialist pursuit of the biological mechanism of disease” what does “materialist” mean here?

The context of “radically materialist pursuit of the biological mechanism of disease” refers to the faults of the post-modern practitioner with their desperate pursuit to understand the scientific mechanisms of disorders with their “disease” point of view. Materialist in this statement refers to how practitioners value and prioritize the biomedical view of disorders over the underlying “illness” complaints plaguing the sick person and their family.