A need for improved communication between the social sciences and psychiatry is being expressed from many quarters. Interest in social and cultural issues is not, of course, new to psychiatry, but collaboration between the two approaches has not always been easy. Recently one social science in particular has become popular with psychiatry. This is social anthropology, and many psychiatrists consider that the inclusion of anthropological data and methods, particularly in cross-cultural research, can be useful and informative to psychiatry. What then is the relationship between anthropology and psychiatry and what are the problems which professionals face in attempting interdisciplinary research?
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