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Medications and meanings in Maori households with chronic illnesses

Domestic spaces have always featured as sites for health care. The home is increasingly referred to as a new therapeutic space within which chronic illnesses are managed within everyday life. This research explores the meanings and use of medications within four Māori households containing at least one chronically ill householder. A broad ethnographic approach was used to capture popular understandings and medication use in daily life. Multiple methods were used, including group discussions with household members, individual interviews, household mapping, and photographic and diary elicitation tasks. Findings shed light on the sources and uses of medications, householder knowledge of medications, communal practices of sharing, caring, rationalising use, grappling with side-effects and the management of illness. I consider what it means for householders to take medications themselves or give these to others, and the care-giving practices that feature in the everyday consumption of medicines. The research is based on the premise that medications are material objects with therapeutic uses that enter into and take on meaning within people’s lives. Medications become culturally embedded phenomena that carry meanings and shape social relationships and practices with Māori households. As such, medications were used in a way that reflected the cultural values and bonds within the households. Within household relationships, medications were invested within meaning to show aroha, support and care. Within a Māori whānau context, the values of maanakitanga, rangatiratanga, and whanaungatanga were recognised as having an integral role in understanding the social practices with medications in each household.
Type of thesis
Carlson, T. (2010). Medications and meanings in Maori households with chronic illnesses (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5011
University of Waikato
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