William Dressler

My Biography

William Dressler and Alyssa Crittenden have been selected as co-recipients of the 2021 Conrad M. Arensberg award. This honor recognizes individuals who have furthered anthropology as a natural science.

William Dressler’s work is focused on understanding the links between culture, the individual, and health outcomes. He is perhaps best known for his theory of cultural consonance, arguably one of the most important biocultural theories of the last several decades. Dressler’s theory provides researchers with a methodology to understand behaviors in the context of culture while measuring the degree that individuals, in their own beliefs and behaviors, approximate the values held by their cultural community. Cultural consonance has revolutionized medical anthropological thinking by allowing researchers to understand how culture, and one’s positionality within a “web” of meaning, directly impacts health.