• Paradox, Process, and Mystery: An Exploration of Anthropology and Healing

      Miller, Janneli F. (University of Arizona, Department of Anthropology, 1994)
      This paper examines anthropological studies of healing. It asserts that since healing is not merely a cognitive undertaking, research which addresses only intellectual realms will be incomplete. An abbreviated review of the history of anthropology and healing begins with a summary of the development of medical anthropology and ethnomedicine and continues with a discussion of six topical areas related to research on healing. These are the symbolic, performative, psychological, processual, political-economic perspectives, as well as that of efficacy. The processual nature of healing is investigated, especially in regards to its relationship with ritual. Finally, directions for further research are explored. It is argued that patient-healer relations are central to successful healing interactions, and that the presence and agency of participants can be a point of departure for research. Furthermore, attention to ambiguity, aesthetics, and death is needed in order to situate the practice of healing. A call is made for self-reflective, engaged, meaning-centered research on healing.