What Really Matters by Arthur Kleinman
Living a Moral Life amidst Uncertainty and Danger

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Synopsis

Life can sometimes thrust us into troubling circumstances that threaten to undo our thin mastery over those things that matter most. In this moving and thought-provoking volume, Arthur Kleinman tells the unsettling stories of a handful of men and women, some of whom have lived through some of the most fundamental transitions of the turbulent twentieth century.
Here we meet an American veteran of World War II, tortured by the memory of the atrocities he committed while a soldier in the Pacific. A French-American woman aiding refugees in sub-Saharan Africa, facing the utter chaos of a society where life has become meaningless. A Chinese doctor trying to stay alive during Mao's cultural revolution, discovering that the only values that matter are those that get you beyond the next threat. These individuals have found themselves caught in circumstances where those things that matter most to them--their desires, status, relationships, resources, political and religious commitments, life itself--have been challenged by the society around them. Each is caught up in existential moral experiences that define what it means to be human, with an intensity that makes their life narratives arresting. Their stories reveal just how malleable moral life is, and just how central danger is to our worlds and our livelihood. Indeed, Kleinman offers in this book a groundbreaking approach to ethics, examining "who we are" through some of the most disturbing issues of our time--war, globalization, poverty, social injustice, sex, and religion--all in the context of actual lived moral life.
Here then are riveting stories of ordinary men and women, in extraordinary times and threatening situations, making sense of their worlds and facing profound challenges to what matters most in their lives.
 

About Arthur Kleinman

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Arthur Kleinman is Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University, and Professor of Medical Anthropology in Social Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School. A renowned psychiatrist and anthropologist, he has been awarded the Boas Prize (the highest award of the American Anthropological Association) and is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His books include Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing, and the Human Condition and Rethinking Psychiatry: From Cultural Category to Personal Experience.
 
Published May 1, 2006 by Oxford University Press. 274 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Self Help, Law & Philosophy, Parenting & Relationships, History, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Non-fiction

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