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Boteberättelser: En etnologisk studie av boteprocesser och det omprövande patientskapet
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Culture and Media.
2004 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis analyse how life-histories are expressed and reformulated in connection to a life crisis of ill health. The study is based on ten interviews with people who in connection with ill health have made use of treatments within both orthodox medicine and complementary medicine and who have also developed various forms of self-treatment. The overall aim is, with a point of departure in the concepts health, healing and trust, to analyse narratives as a practice through which the respondents create identity and a life-context. The signifi cance of constructing the (auto)biography of the healing narrative – a form of narrative and performative act – runs as the main thread through the thesis. This act makes up the practice that is recurrently discussed in several of the thesis’ chapters and is synonymously termed the telling of healing narratives or or to narrate health and healing. The analysis of the narrative’s The analysis of the narrative’s healing main themes is mirrored in the order of the chapters. The study is broadly thematic and structured as a generalised healing process beginning with upheaval, continuing with crisis and social drama, and further to the endeavour of expressing values and judgements in a public context.

The interview themes of self-treatment and alternative treatment have occasioned the investigation into what an ethno-medical perspective can bring to analyses of people’s experiences of ill health in an everyday medical context. One of the points of having the concept ethno-medicine as a starting point is that every practice or narrative formation is ascribed with a potential for interpretation in its creation of knowledge. Another chapter deals with two themes of identity and life-history construction in the practice of healing narratives – the need for a chronology and reappraised perspectives on body, health and lifestyle. Healing narratives can be understood as a genre of life-historical narratives where life is often described as a linear course of events. A model by the anthropologist Victor Turner on the course and content of social drama is used as a comment to analyses of three respondents’ narratives in another chapter. A drama can be understood as a tragic course of events, based on an accident or an upsetting incident that roughly revolves around event/crisis, chaos and the striving for restoration. The concept of other journals is then used to make visible the everyday medical administrative practice and refers to the documentation used in the form of collected documents, written notes, and diaries. As an unexpected part of healing processes, the necessity of familiarising oneself with rules, laws and health insurance systems in order to be able to claim one’s rights is brought forward.

The social transformation process of various care practices in society makes up both a context and a commonly occurring theme in the narratives that the thesis is based upon. A modern health culture that gains strength from loosely composed social movements exerts infl uence on all levels of society. With an increased individual responsibility, the need grows to fi nd one’s own healing strategies and to create one’s own life-history in narratives that mirror this transformation in an everyday context. Healing narratives can be seen as a form of evaluation of health-care practices where experiences of treatment and notions of health and cure and healing are concretised.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Kultur och medier , 2004. , 236 p.
Etnologiska skrifter, ISSN 1103-6516 ; 33
Keyword [en]
Ethnology, Health, healing, illness, narratives, trust, healing process, ethno-medicine, medical pluralism, construction of patienthood, social movements, medical cultures, self-treatment, life-history, life-trajectories, social and individual drama, medical journals, patients documentation, alternative and complementary medicines, doctor-patient communication.
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-360ISBN: 91-7305-764-9OAI: diva2:143238
Public defence
Available from: 2004-11-12 Created: 2004-11-12Bibliographically approved

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