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October 2021

Med Anthropol Q. 1998 Jun; 12(2): 147-67.

Objectified selves: an analysis of medicines in Andean sacrificial healing.

Greenway C.

Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Holy Cross College, USA.

This analysis of medicines used in a Quechua soul-calling ritual in the southern Peruvian Andes demonstrates that the items in sacrificial bundles (despachos) embody the identity of patients. The manipulation of these medicinal objects gives insight into the meaning of the concept of embodiment in the Andean cultural context and expands Western conceptions of embodiment. An examination of the material representation of the body, the sacrificial object, illuminates the components of embodied identity in this particular cultural context. Analysis of the manipulation of medicines further illuminates the potency and efficacy of symbolic healing to transform the phenomenological world of the patient.


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