Remembering to Live

Illness at the Intersection of Anxiety and Knowledge in Rural Indonesia
M. Cameron Hay
An ethnographic exploration of health, illness, and healing among a poor, rural Indonesian people


Sasaks, a people of the Indonesian archipelago, cope with one of the country's worst health records by employing various medical traditions, including their own secret ethnomedical knowledge. But anxiety, in the presence and absence of illness, profoundly shapes the ways Sasaks use healing and knowledge. Hay addresses complex questions regarding cultural models, agency, and other relationships to conclude that the ethnomedical knowledge they use to cope with their illnesses ironically inhibits improvements in their health care.

M. Cameron Hay is a NSF Advance Fellow and an Assistant Adjunct Professor at the UCLA Center for Culture and Health.

Praise / Awards

  • ". . . captures the reader's interest. . . . [A] valuable addition to the literature."
    —Carol Laderman, City College, CUNY
  • "This is a truly stunning ethnography. Beautifully written and carefully argued, Remembering to Live explains how certain understandings about health and illness become so widespread as to be virtually unquestionable, while others are idiosyncratic or shared among relatively few people. Significant here is the way anxiety shapes the communication of knowledge and how people act on their knowledge when acutely anxious. Its humane concern with poverty and its theoretical reach remind me of Death without Weeping by Nancy Scheper-Hughes. Like that book, too, it will be a favorite of students."
    —Rita Smith Kipp, Kenyon College
  • "Hay makes a major contribution to anthropological studies of health and ethnographies of Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Her engaging style, descriptive luminosity, and theoretical reach make this appropriate for undergraduate and advanced audiences."
    —S. Ferzacca, University of Lethbridige, Choice, June 2002

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Copyright © 2001, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 360pp.
  • 10 B&W photographs, 2 maps, 6 illustrations int text.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2004
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06785-5

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  • $33.95 U.S.

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