Recent years have seen an increase in critical analyses of discourses of policy and practice. However, some argue that this form of scholarship is not central to understanding the concerns of day-to-day practice in the health care context. We propose the converse and contend that critical analyses have particularly important contributions to make because they challenge us to examine what are largely taken for granted aspects of practice. One context in which such examinations have been instructive is primary healthcare. This article is intended to further the dialogue on the ways the culture concept is taken up in health care. We use the case of culture and health to illustrate the ways discourses are taken up in local and official contexts and to demonstrate how different discourses and related institutional practices, shape individuals' relationships with others in the community context.