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Health care decisions by Sukuma 'peasant intellectuals': a case of radical empiricism?

(2012) ANTHROPOLOGY & MEDICINE. 19(1). p.119-128
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Abstract
Health care decisions in Sukuma-speaking rural communities in Tanzania reproduce a practical epistemology that could be described as radically empiricist, rather than just pluralist; their point of reference is the deeper ‘relation’ between events, which collective traditions articulate and subjects may experience, but which escapes the atomistic perception privileged by biomedicine. This analysis relies on a diverse portfolio of ethnographic data, including the use and structure of medicinal recipes, the choices of mental health care according to experienced ‘effectiveness’, and lay discussions on the correct aetiology and treatment of reproductive disorder. Combining two dimensions for a given medical epistemology, the (empirical/ habitual) basis of its transmission and the (open/closed) relation with other epistemologies, four types are proposed: monism, dualism, pluralism, and radical empiricism. The concept of peasant intellectuals, it is argued, needs to be rethought in contexts of medicinal initiation.
Keywords
traditional medicine, epistemology, mental health, Sukuma, ethnopharmacology

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Stroeken, Koenraad. 2012. “Health Care Decisions by Sukuma ‘Peasant Intellectuals’: a Case of Radical Empiricism?” Anthropology & Medicine 19 (1): 119–128.
APA
Stroeken, K. (2012). Health care decisions by Sukuma “peasant intellectuals”: a case of radical empiricism? ANTHROPOLOGY & MEDICINE, 19(1), 119–128.
Vancouver
1.
Stroeken K. Health care decisions by Sukuma “peasant intellectuals”: a case of radical empiricism? ANTHROPOLOGY & MEDICINE. 2012;19(1):119–28.
MLA
Stroeken, Koenraad. “Health Care Decisions by Sukuma ‘Peasant Intellectuals’: a Case of Radical Empiricism?” ANTHROPOLOGY & MEDICINE 19.1 (2012): 119–128. Print.
@article{2110012,
  abstract     = {Health care decisions in Sukuma-speaking rural communities in Tanzania reproduce a practical epistemology that could be described as radically empiricist, rather than just pluralist; their point of reference is the deeper {\textquoteleft}relation{\textquoteright} between events, which collective traditions articulate and subjects may experience, but which escapes the atomistic perception privileged by biomedicine. This analysis relies on a diverse portfolio of ethnographic data, including the use and structure of medicinal recipes, the choices of mental health care according to experienced {\textquoteleft}effectiveness{\textquoteright}, and lay discussions on the correct aetiology and treatment of reproductive disorder. Combining two dimensions for a given medical epistemology, the (empirical/ habitual) basis of its transmission and the (open/closed) relation with other epistemologies, four types are proposed: monism, dualism, pluralism, and radical empiricism. The concept of peasant intellectuals, it is argued, needs to be rethought in contexts of medicinal initiation.},
  author       = {Stroeken, Koenraad},
  issn         = {1364-8470},
  journal      = {ANTHROPOLOGY \& MEDICINE},
  keyword      = {traditional medicine,epistemology,mental health,Sukuma,ethnopharmacology},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {119--128},
  title        = {Health care decisions by Sukuma 'peasant intellectuals': a case of radical empiricism?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13648470.2012.660464},
  volume       = {19},
  year         = {2012},
}

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