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Science, Medicine, and Anthropology

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By Martha Lincoln

My research in Việt Nam addresses how medicine, health, and disease function as political and cultural signifiers as well as telegraphing – in the form of epidemiological data and public health outcomes – important features of the socioeconomic order. While health and disease are highly politicized everywhere in the world, these issues take on intriguing significance in socialist and formerly socialist settings – in part because they reveal the cultural features of a political economic system whose heyday is increasingly difficult for North Americans to imagine. Though Việt Nam’s status as a socialist country is complex, certain features of the socialist period remain influential. At the same time, Việt Nam’s transition to a capitalist economy has radically reshaped key social institutions – with concomitant radical changes for the way people live, work, consume, experience health and illness, and experience their bodies in everyday ways. To say this more simply, health – as a physical state of being as well as a social and cultural ideal – is politics by other means. My research addresses how transformations in Việt Nam’s national political economy have affected public health outcomes, the organization of the health sector, and the cultural idea of “health.”

The author with Lý Thị Mai(pseudonym), 57. “I want our nation to develop so the health services can have doctors return to lower levels. The hospitals are far, kilometers away. We should have many hospitals and health stations close to the people in their districts, and they should have excellent doctors so people could be treated quickly and be cared for better.”

To ask “How are you?” in Vietnamese, one asks “Are you healthy?” When I started fieldwork in Hà Nội in 2008, I confess I lacked a nuanced understanding of what the seemingly straightforward concept of “health” might mean in this complex sociocultural setting. My fieldwork – which entailed ethnographic interviews with poor and working-class families as well as with Vietnamese specialists in medicine, public health, and epidemiology – helped me form grounded impressions of how these issues matter locally. As I have come to understand it, health and disease are culturally meaningful insofar as they resonate specifically with complexes of ideas and values that are essentially ethical, political, and philosophical – about, for example, personhood, gender, deservingness, fate, and the proper role of society and the state respective to citizens’ private lives (c.f. Lincoln and Lincoln 2015). The research that I have published on the more empirical aspects of health in Việt Nam has argued that infectious disease epidemiology reveals the shifting priorities of the national health sector, that the respective states of more and less prestigious health facilities betray the effects of new disparities in health care financing, and that the state’s management of poverty and public health exposes shifts in commonly held conceptions about morality, the public sphere, and the terms of the social contract.

Acronym use has been further popularized by text messaging on mobile phones with Short Message Systems (SMS). To fit messages into the 160-character SMS limit, acronyms such as "GF" (girlfriend), "LOL" (laughing out loud), and "DL" (download or down low) have become popular. Mens 6 inch Premium Waterproof Boots Timberland Reliable Cheap Price Free Shipping Cheap Real Cheap Sale In China Official Site Sale Online SZXxErU1
Some prescriptivists disdain texting acronyms and abbreviations as decreasing clarity, or as failure to use "pure" or "proper" English. Others point out that Under Sale Online Business Light Low 1514 Mens Brogues Docksteps With Mastercard Sale 2018 Authentic Sale Online Discount Outlet Locations SBJctK
has happened for thousands of years, and argue that it should be embraced as inevitable, or as innovation that adapts the language to changing circumstances. In this view, the modern practice is just as legitimate as those in "proper" English of the current generation of speakers, such as the abbreviation of corporation names in places with limited writing space (e.g., ticker tape, newspaper Outlet Cheap Online Sale Prices Womens Cf Qt Vulc So W Sneaker Low Neck adidas Pre Order Cheap Online Order Cheap Price uZ8IGJv
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In formal writing for a broad audience, the expansion is typically given at the first occurrence of the acronym within a given text, for the benefit of those readers who do not know what it stands for. The capitalization of the original term is independent of it being acronymized, being lowercase for a Lorenzo Rimini Leather Backless Loafers Berluti Sale Cheap Price WQ1f3mCn
such as frequently asked questions (FAQ) but uppercase for a Mens ES 30922 Garda Chelsea Boots Buffalo Sneakernews Online Extremely For Sale Outlet Lowest Price KzB0fW
such as the United Nations (UN) (as explained at Case > Casing of expansions ).

In addition to expansion at first use, some publications also have a key listing all acronyms used therein and what their expansions are. This is a convenience to readers for two reasons. The first is that if they are not reading the entire publication sequentially (which is a common mode of reading), then they may encounter an acronym without having seen its expansion. Having a key at the start or end of the publication obviates skimming over the text searching for an earlier use to find the expansion. (This is especially important in the print medium, where no search utility is available.) The second reason for the key feature is its pedagogical value in educational works such as textbooks. It gives students a way to review the meanings of the acronyms introduced in a chapter after they have done the line-by-line reading, and also a way to quiz themselves on the meanings (by covering up the expansion column and recalling the expansions from memory, then checking their answers by uncovering). In addition, this feature enables readers possessing knowledge of the abbreviations not to have to encounter expansions (redundant to such readers).

Expansion at first use and the abbreviation-key feature are aids to the reader that originated in the print era, and they are equally useful in print and online. In addition, the online medium offers yet more aids, such as tooltips , Buy Cheap Eastbay Mens Triflow Mid HiTop Sneakers Black 65 UK Clarks From China Cheap Price Buy Cheap Classic Free Shipping Low Price Fee Shipping Free Shipping Many Kinds Of 0Hys9X
, and rapid search via search engine technology .

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