Contents: Introduction/Arima Mishra.I. Legitimacy and Recognition:1. Authenticity, Alliances and Results: Notions of Legitimacy held by Traditional Healers in South India/Devaki Nambiar, Arima Mishra, Harilal Madhavan, Sarika Kadam, Shrish N. R., Steffy Dhayalan and Pooja Venkatesh.2. Accreditation, Certification and Self-regulation: An Innovative Approach for Strengthening and Reintegrating Traditional Community Health Care Providers/Unnikrishnan Payyappallimana, Hariramamurthi Govindaswamy, Sarin Sasikumar and Debjani Roy.3. Whom do the Rural Poor Consult for Health Care and How Much Do They Spend in India’s Pluralistic Health Care Arenas?/Mark Nichter. 4. Medical Pluralism and the Political Economy of Obstetric Care among Bangladeshi Women in Britain/Sultana Mustafa Khanum. II. Documentation and Systematisation of Traditional Knowledge: 5. From Siddha Corpus to Siddha Medicine: Reflection on the Reduction of Siddha Knowledge through Exploration of Manuscripts/Brigitte Sebastia. 6. Family Repositories to ‘Knowledge Commons’: The Discourse of Documenting Local Health Traditions in Contemporary Kerala/Harilal Madhavan and Praveen Lal. 7. Documenting Folk Ayurvedic Knowledge in Uttarakhand: Insights from Critical Medical Anthropology/Moe Nakazora. 8. Documentation of Traditional Health Knowledge: To What End?/Arima Mishra and Devaki Nambiar. III. Gender in Healing: 9. Nested Marginalities: Women in Healing in South India/Arima Mishra, Maya Annie Elias, Devaki Nambiar and Rajeev B. R. 10. Ritual Pollution and Women’s Blood: Listening to Dais/Janet Chawla. 11. Dais: Transforming the Traditions/Renu Khanna. 12. May the Vital Force be With You: An Indian Homeopathic Doctor’s Approach to the Gendered Ills of Our Time/Cecilia Coale Van Hollen. Index.
The study of medical pluralism, characterised by the authoritative presence of the State in defining ‘legitimate’ inclusion and exclusion, has long been studied in medical anthropology. However, recent scholarship has begun to question this statist frame.
Local Health Traditions extends this discussion by focusing on the ‘marginal’ categories of medicine and healing that range from home remedies and herbal medicine to dais, bone-setters and spiritual healers. These different forms of medicine have recently come to be known as ‘local health traditions’ in the policy texts.
Academic scholarship on medical pluralism tends to focus more on ‘systems of medicine’, leaving out local health traditions that fall off the radar of ‘systems, science and state’. Turning the lens upside down, this book places local health traditions at the centre-stage of discussion to extend the debates on medical pluralism. The contributors critically engage with issues of legitimacy and recognition, documentation of traditional medical knowledge, and gender in healing.
The book also studies the recent developments in policy literature: while the State has begun to address the need to revitalise local health traditions, market trends for natural, traditional remedies and products are now imposing another set of demands on these traditional practices.