chapter
14 Pages

Nerves and Psychosomatic Illness: The Case of Um Ramadan

From 1978 to 1980 I conducted participant observation research with women and their families in a poor working-class area of metropolitan Cairo, Egypt. I went to Egypt to study family planning, sexuality, gender roles, and concepts of health and illness for my doctoral dissertation in anthropology. In 1988, I had the opportunity to return to the area several times, enabling me to rekindle old, dear friendships, note changes, and interview many of the same people I had talked with and observed 8 to 10 years earlier.