Perceiving Pain: Health, Culture and Ritual

For most of us, coming into contact with some form of pain is a daily occurrence: it is both a usual part of the human
experience and lexicon. Not surprisingly, pain has many differing and contextually specific meanings, and although it is
nearly universal across the realm of human experience, its definitions and perceptions remain subjective and highly
personal. In this paper, the authors outline and explore perceptions and understandings of pain, with regard to
functionality at both the basic physiological level and ritual level, and the need for further cross-study and complimentary
research between both clinical professionals and social scientists.