Recognizing the interplay between biomedicine and indigenous medicine among the Mapuche in Southern Chile, this book explores notions of culture and personhood through the bodily experiences and medical choices of patients. Through case studies of patients in the context of medical pluralism, Kristensen argues that medical practices are powerful social symbol indicative of overarching socio-political processes. As certain types of extreme and violent experiences–known as olvidos–lack a framework that allows them to be expressed openly, they therefore surface as symptoms of an illness, often with no apparent organic pathology. In these contexts, indigenous medicine, thanks to its sensitivity to socio-political contexts, provides a space for articulation and management of collective experiences and suffering among patients in Southern Chile.
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