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Cosmos, Gods and Madmen

Frameworks in the Anthropologies of Medicine

Edited by Roland Littlewood and Rebecca Lynch

220 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-177-0 $95.00/£67.00 Hb Published (June 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-178-7 eBook


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“The essays in Cosmos, Gods, and Madmen range over a wide array of topics across multiple geographic areas… Not all of the chapters touch on all three of the terms in the book’s title, but they all contain important and fascinating ethnographic material and make some useful theoretical and methodological recommendations. It will not be news to any anthropologists that religion and supernatural agency is frequently implicated in the diagnosis and cure of illness, mental or otherwise, but the case studies are a welcome addition to the literature on medical anthropology and the anthropology of religion.” · Anthropology Review Database

“The introduction to this book is very well-written and lays out the topic and scope clearly… The chapters have been collected carefully and offer much to the study of religion and healing” · Stefan Ecks, University of Edinburgh

The social anthropology of sickness and health has always been concerned with religious cosmologies: how societies make sense of such issues as prediction and control of misfortune and fate; the malevolence of others; the benevolence (or otherwise) of the mystical world; local understanding and explanations of the natural and ultra-human worlds. This volume presents differing categorizations and conflicts that occur as people seek to make sense of suffering and their experiences. Cosmologies, whether incorporating the divine or as purely secular, lead us to interpret human action and the human constitution, its ills and its healing and, in particular, ways which determine and limit our very possibilities.

Roland Littlewood is Professor of Anthropology and Psychiatry at UCL. He is a former president of the RAI and has undertaken fieldwork in Trinidad, Haiti, Lebanon, Italy and Albania, and has published eight books and around 200 papers.

Rebecca Lynch is a Research Fellow in Medical Anthropology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Her work crosses the intersection of medicine and religion and she has published on cultural and scientific constructions of health, the body and morality. She has conducted fieldwork in Trinidad and the UK and is a Research Associate at Lucy Cavendish College Cambridge.

Subject: Medical Anthropology Religion
Area:



Contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction: Divinity, Disease, Distress
Roland Littlewood and Rebecca Lynch

Chapter 1. Why Animism Matters
David Napier

Chapter 2. Spreading the Gospel of the Miracle Cure: Panama’s Black Christ
Rodney J. Reynolds

Chapter 3. Madness and Miracles: Hoping for Healing in Rural Ghana
Ursula M. Read

Chapter 4. ‘Sakawa’ Rumours: Occult Internet Fraud and Ghanaian Identity
Alice Armstrong

Chapter 5. To Heal the Body is to Heal Oneself: The Body as Congregation
Isabelle Lange

Chapter 6. Addiction and the Duality of the Self in a North American Religio-Therapeutic Community
Ellie Reynolds

Chapter 7. Religious Conversion and Madness: Contested Territory in the Peruvian Andes
David M.R. Orr

Chapter 8. Cosmologies of Fear: The Medicalisation of Anxiety in Contemporary Britain
Rebecca Lynch

Chapter 9. Functionalists and Zombis: Sorcery as Spandrel and Social Rescue
Roland Littlewood

Chapter 10. Religion and Psychosis: A Common Evolutionary Trajectory?
Simon Dein

Index

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