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Genealogy and ambivalence of a therapeutic heterodoxy. Islam and Tibetan medicine in North-western India

Abstract : This paper examines the case of a Shiite practitioner of Tibetan medicine in Ladakh, North-western India. It recounts the story of a Buddhist family converted to Islam, for which the abandonment of religion has not led to the discontinuation of a lineal medical practice known to have Buddhist overtones. This situation provides an invitation to explore the social consequences of maintaining the practice in a region characterized by religious conflict, as well as the criteria of sameness and difference, technique and genealogy that make a marked 'other' a practitioner of Tibetan medicine. These religious overlaps are, however, not only apparent at the social level; they are also present in the preparation ofmedicines, in etiological narratives or in the physical regimes of bodily care. The composite nature of medical practice helps us to observe from a new angle the role of religion in the practice of Tibetan medicine. The way medicine is enacted and performed in this context provides empirical materials to study the paradigms that both structure and confer motion to Tibetan learned medicine. The ethnography of a remote region in the Himalayas opens up research paths for the anthropology of Asian medicine amongst new categories of healers and renewed contexts of practice.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - 11:14:24 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, December 15, 2021 - 3:54:45 AM

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Laurent Pordié. Genealogy and ambivalence of a therapeutic heterodoxy. Islam and Tibetan medicine in North-western India. Modern Asian Studies, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2015, 49 (6), pp.1772-1807. ⟨10.1017/S0026749X13000085⟩. ⟨hal-03479146⟩

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