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Title: Healers in Tharaka : a case-study of the development of a professional 'jurisdiction'
Author: Giarelli, G.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1994
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The thesis examines the process of social change among Tharaka agao (healers) in the Meru District of Kenya: it analyzes the rationale of the social and cultural processes involved for an existing occupation to become a recognized professional activity in modern Kenya. The thesis argues that a radical redefinition of professional 'jurisdictions' is required in the medical field. The concept of 'jurisdiction' is discussed here in metaphorical terms in order to question the common assumption that professionalization in the Western-type is the only possible model of development for African healers. The first part of the thesis, after information related to the structural and cultural context of Tharaka, provides an overview of the Tharaka experience of management of illness, with an emphasis on health-seeking behaviour and the division of labour in health care. The second part establishes the cultural boundaries of the healing 'jurisdiction' of the Ugao and the mechanisms used to gain the claimed control over it: this is done by presenting and analyzing the ethnographic material which I collected during a period of apprenticeship with three Tharaka healers. The third part investigates the social dimension involved in the development of that 'jurisdiction', by examining group formation among healers and the problems generated within the emerging profession. It also considers the matter of integration of Tharaka healers within the local health care system through an analysis of their interrelationship with the biomedical personnel and the health care facilities. Finally, it discusses the problem of legitimation the whole process of professional development raises at the local and national level.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: African traditional medicine Anthropology Folklore