Call for Papers - Medical Anthropology


Call for Papers - Rethinking Universality in Medical Diagnosis in Mental Health: A Call for Pluralistic Approaches. (Medical Anthropology Special Edition 2024)


‘We never judge anything without secretly considering it in relation to our own self … It has been quite correctly observed that if triangles were to make themselves a god, they would give him three sides’ (Montesquieu, Persian Letters, p.57, 1722).


Concept Note: Medical / Biological Anthropology

Central Theme: Rethinking Universality in Medical Diagnosis: A Call for Pluralistic Approaches


Medical anthropology explores the intersection of culture and health. Traditionally, medicine strives for universally-applicable diagnostic categories and treatment plans. However, this approach has limitations.  Humanities scholarship critiques the limitations of universal diagnostic models, emphasising the subjective and cultural aspects of illness experiences. This concept note examines the tension between these two approaches.


Key Issues:

Incorporation of counter-narratives: To what extent are patient narratives and cultural perspectives included in medical school training and diagnosis?

Phenomenology vs. Classification: How can medical models integrate the subjective experience of illness with established classification systems?

Data and the Individual: Does the focus on large-scale data collection in medicine neglect the individual patient's experience?

Ideographic vs. Universal Care: Can personalised care be achieved within a system driven by standardised diagnoses and treatment protocols?

Hegemony of Medical Jargon: Does standardised medical language hinder effective communication between patients and healthcare providers?

Pluralism vs. Chaos: Can acknowledging diverse illness experiences improve care, or lead to confusion in diagnosis and treatment?


Call for Papers:

The Indian Folklore Research Journal's 2024 special issue invites articles that explore these issues. We encourage submissions that:

Analyse the limitations of universal diagnostic models.Examine the role of cultural perspectives in mental illness narratives.

Propose methods for integrating patient narratives into medical training and practice.

Investigate the impact of digital technologies on medical diagnosis in mental health.

Explore the potential of personalised care within standardised medical systems.

Advocate for incorporating a pluralistic approach to healthcare.

This special issue aims to bridge the gap between the universalising tendencies of medicine and the importance of individual and cultural experiences in healthcare.


Indian Folklore Research Journal invites Articles for Submission for its forthcoming Special Edition on Medical Anthropology 2024. Contributions in English, not exceeding 7000 words should be submitted in MS Word (.docx or.doc) to [Dr JP Rajendran- Special Editor] and [ CC to Dr MD Muthukumaraswamy - Director, NFSC] on or before 31st October 2024. Indian Folklore Research Journal follows the latest MLA Stylesheet. For more details on article submissions, please follow the guidelines in the website.



Indian Folklore Research Journal (IFRJ) publishes original and unpublished research papers, book reviews, resource reviews, and announcements in the field of Indian Folklore and allied disciplines. IFRJ is published annually and edited by M.D.Muthukumaraswamy on behalf of National Folklore Support Centre (NFSC). This  Special issue on Medical Anthropology is edited by Dr Jayaprakash Rajendran.


NFSC is located at address at #508, Fifth Floor, Kaveri complex, 96, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai- 600034 Tamilnadu India. NFSC is a non governmental,non-profit organisation, registered in Chennai, dedicated to the promotion of Indian Folklore, research, education, training, networking and publications.