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August 2021

Soc Sci Med. 1987 ; 24(12): 1095-108.

The return of Dr Fritz: spiritist healing and patronage networks in urban, industrial Brazil.

Greenfield SM.

This paper describes surgeries and other healings performed without antiseptics and anesthesia by two Brazilian spiritist healers. The beliefs of spiritism and its treatment modalities are outlined. The role of hypnosis in healing is discussed. Finally the socio-cultural context within which the healing takes place is examined to show that spiritist healers are reconstructing networks of patronage and dependency similar to those of traditional Brazilian society that provide meaning and security for the ill in the midst of disruptive urbanization and modernization.

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