Elkin, Adolphus P.

Elkin, Adolphus P. – Australian anthropologist at Sydney University and author of Aboriginal Men of High Degree (1945). In contrast with pervasive denigrations of Aboriginal Australians in general and their “doctors” or “medicine people” in particular, Elkin argued that “the real medicine man is a professional individual of special training whose personality, from the point of view of the community, reaches a high degree of normality.” He notes claims about initiatory dismemberment and the insertion of crystals and other powerful objects, but counters assertions about the psychological ill-health of “men of high degree” by referring to their otherwise normal social and relational behaviors.

SOURCE:

Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007

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