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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Money heals: traditional medicine and the meanings of exchange
Author:Feierman, StevenISNI
Periodical:Palabres actuelles: revue de la Fondation Raponda-Walker pour la Science et la Culture
Geographic term:Tanzania
Subjects:traditional medicine
health care
social relations
Abstract:Among traditional healers, payments define the therapeutic act as embedded in a relationship of reciprocity. Payments define therapeutic efficacy. Exchanges of money and wealth are constitutive acts in traditional healing and the pattern of exchange is a core communicative code. Money endows medicines with power, defines who is the patient, and gives identifying marks to varieties of traditional healers and healing forms. Wealth-exchange opens up a subjective history of illness and therapy, since exchange is the medium through which people act out their healing relationships to one another. An attempt to take healing power without reciprocity constitutes the definition of evil, the taking, by force or by cunning, of a substance that ought to have been exchanged. The communicative code of material exchange at work in traditional medicine is also in play in contemporary hospital cultures. Examples drawn from over 30 years of research in Tanga Province, northeastern Tanzania, illustrate these various implications of monetary exchanges for the care of the sick. Notes, ref., sum. in French and English (p. 297). [ASC Leiden abstract]