Gender Roles in the Mexican-American Folk Medical System of South Texas Page: 1 of 26
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Gender Roles in the Mexican-American Folk Medical System of
Joe S. Graham
Folk medicine is perhaps the most studied aspect of traditional
culture among Mexican Americans in South Texas. In this paper, I shall
attempt to provide an historical perspective to the folk medical beliefs
and practices in this region and examine the gender roles in this system.
Let me first make clear what we mean by folk medicine.
From an anthropological perspective, culture is the human-made part
of our environment, as opposed to nature. It includes our language,
customs, as well as the physical objects which humans have made and
passed on over time and space. Culture helps us to survive in our physical
and social environments. Those of us who have studied folk culture have
worked to distinguish folk culture from other types of culture,
specifically popular culture and elite culture.
Briefly, elite culture is that culture passed on through time and
space through the formal institutions of society. To become a medical
doctor or pharmacist, one must attend college, pass exams, attend medical
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Graham, Joe Stanley, 1940-1999. Gender Roles in the Mexican-American Folk Medical System of South Texas, article, Date Unknown; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth1010868/m1/1/: accessed January 19, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas A&M University Kingsville.