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Between Ordinary Pain and Extraordinary Knowledge

The Seer Vanga in the Everyday Life of Bulgarians during Socialism (1960s-1970s)

Galia Valtchinova

This article focuses on a little-known aspect of everyday life in socialist Bulgaria: the act of consulting a clairvoyant for health issues, thereby dealing with the broader process of medicalisation of healing. It is grounded on files from consultations with the renowned Bulgarian seer, prophetess and healer baba Vanga, which were collected between 1966 and 1974. These highly specifi c historical sources allow me to analyse late twentieth-century ideas and notions of health and disease, of pain and suffering, and thus to access social realities, cultural practices and representations of healing under socialism. By scrutinising the categories used in these records, the article delineates the relationship between the seer-healer, her patients, and the state institutions involved in the regulation of this process.

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Tatiana Bulgakova

This article discusses the sociological hierarchies among Nanay shamans. The shamans evaluate one another and the community also evaluates them, ranking them in myriad informal ways in terms of effectiveness with spirits and healing power. These rankings come about through discursive activities associated with recounting shamanic healing and other ritual practices. While shamans try to maintain close communicative and social relationships with their community, they actively avoid direct interaction with one another as part of a conflict avoidance strategy.

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Czech Balneotherapy

Border Medicine and Health Tourism

Amy Speier

This essay exemplifies a particular approach to the field of health tourism, whereby the anthropology of tourism and medical anthropology can be used in conjunction. The serious business of healing is not usually associated with the pleasures of relaxation; however, Czech spas have historically been sites of both healing and leisure for visitors. Building on the suggestion of Veijola and Jokinen (1994), the body of the tourist is made the centre of this study. The bodies of patient-tourists at Czech health spas undergo various healing regimens, and their bodies signify a negotiation of national and cultural identities. Just as Bunzl (2000) considers bodies as constituting European cultural landscapes, this essay considers the ways in which German patient bodies at Czech health spas constitute a changing national, political and cultural relationship at a 'border' of Europe.

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Bringing the Soul Back to the Self

Soul Retrieval in Neo-shamanism

Galina Lindquist

It has been generally agreed that rituals of healing work through transforming the embodied self; thus, they are especially fit to be analyzed as rituals in their own right. This chapter focuses on the ritual of soul retrieval as it is practiced by Western urban neo-shamans. It argues that apart from giving the patient new memories and new narratives of the self, this version of soul retrieval works by staging a formalized context for forgiveness, here conceptualized as reconciliation between the self and the mundane and divine others. It is argued, however, that the mechanism of this healing ritual is better understood in the light of New Age ontologies of the self, consciousness, and the divine, making ‘ritual in its own right‚’ a good first step towards re-engaging with the social.

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The Moral Imagination

The Art and Soul of Building Peace Association of Conflict Resolution (Sacramento, September 30, 2004)

John Paul Lederach

I am not sure who proposed the phrase 'expanding the art and practice' but it lends itself to what has been preoccupying my professional journey for some years now. I wish to speak about this phrase, about the essence, the 'heart's core', the rhythms and pulse of what is required to build genuine constructive change, what it takes to heal deep divisions, what is vital and necessary to value peace in a polarized world.

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Kyrgyzchylyk

Searching New Paradigms for Ancient Practices

Gulnara Aitpaeva

This essay discusses the concept of kyrgyzchylyk (rather inadequately rendered in English as 'Kyrgyzness') as a way of transcending different boundaries: the Soviet past, Koran-based Islam, rational thinking. Several aspects of the concept and its meaning in everyday life are discussed; in particular the idea of kyrgyzchylyk as spirituality is examined. Moreover, the concept can be seen as transcending the boundaries between traditional beliefs and Islam. Traditional practitioners - healers, clairvoyants, epic storytellers, sacred sites custodians and others - are seen as becoming powerful people through their practices, and the role of kyrgyzchylyk in the context of the traditional worldview is assessed.

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Itamar Rabinovich, The Lingering Conflict: Israel, the Arabs, and the Middle East, 1948-2011 Review by Daniel Kurtzer

Yoav Gelber, Nation and History: Israeli Historiography between Zionism and Post-Zionism Review by Shlomo Aronson

Asher Susser, Israel, Jordan, and Palestine: The Two-State Imperative Review by Paul L. Scham

Michael Feige, Settling in the Hearts: Jewish Fundamentalism in the Occupied Territories Review by Arye Naor

Juliana Ochs, Security and Suspicion: An Ethnography of Everyday Life in Israel Review by Dganit Manor

Daniel Byman, A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism Review by Samy Cohen

Michael Lerner, Embracing Israel/Palestine: A Strategy to Heal and Transform the Middle East Review by Kenneth Waltzer

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Remembering Bali as Paradise

The Bombing of Kuta and the Recovery of the Balinese Tourist Identity

Clare B. Fischer

The 2002 bombing of the tourist nightclubs in Bali created multiple disturbances: it exposed the history of violence, destabilized the tourism economy and prompted a public debate about the comparative virtues of a revitalized tourism industry. Two televised commemorative ceremonies were performed to restore local relations and the global memory of Bali as a peaceful, tropical paradise: the cleansing ceremony and the first anniversary ceremony. Rather than promoting healing, these rituals further disclosed and exacerbated complex tensions within the Balinese society and its tourism industry.

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Traditional Medical Popular Culture in Boir Ahmad, Iran

Explanatory Models, Philosophies and Behaviour

Erika Friedl

Analysis of my ethnographic data on medical popular culture in tribal south-west Iran, mostly from 1965 to 1983, suggests several traditional explanatory models and philosophical tenets that guide approaches to health issues. Empirical knowledge of natural processes motivates people to observe their bodily requirements. The belief in God's autocratic power is tempered with God's purported wish that people use their abilities to take responsibility for their health, complicating the notion of 'fate'. The various models provide health management choices. Traditionally, patients and healers shared these models, acting on the same cosmological assumptions.

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Justice and Power

A Jewish Perspective

Uri Regev

I have tried to portray the rich tapestry that the Jewish tradition presents to us when we seek guidance as to the pursuit of justice and its role in overcoming the painful ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. My selection, undoubtedly, has been subjective, though I have tried to present different and conflicting perspectives. The clear conclusion that one may derive is that there is no one Jewish perspective of justice, nor one avenue for its application in present-day conflicts. Judaism expects us to make choices. Judaism, and religion altogether, can be a source of healing and strong proponent of peace. Alas, it can also serve to demonize the other, reduce his/her rights and justify subversion of the spirit of justice.