Rethinking indigenous medicine: illness (mis)representation and political economy of health in Mozambique’s public health field

Mahumana, Narciso António (2015) Rethinking indigenous medicine: illness (mis)representation and political economy of health in Mozambique’s public health field. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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This dissertation was motivated by the misrepresentation of, and apparent lack of knowledge about,
indigenous medicine in Mozambique. This consequently raised the need to reveal the epistemologies of
health, illness and healing; rewrite the historiography; and develop the knowledge of and about this
medicine. The dissertation analyses illness representation and the political economy of health. The
thesis defended is that indigenous medicine is a form of medical knowledge and practice that
represents its illness, therapy and efficacy according to specific epistemological foundations, rooted in
the local society and culture yet it has been misrepresented by local discourses, agencies and practices
that battle to control health resources, knowledge and power in Mozambique. Within this, biomedical
health paradigms, bodies, and representations have been imposed onto an imagined Official National
Health Service (ONHS) whilst people, on the other hand, represent, legitimise, and seek therapy
simultaneously in different epistemologies and practices of medicine within the therapeutic landscape
creating a Contextual National Health Service (CNHS). This political economy of health is contingent on
historical, socio-economical, political and geopolitical productions and constructions of health and
efficacy within Mozambique’s public health field. Research and health development needs to rewrite the
historiography of indigenous medicine based on ethnographically sensitive material and linguistic
competence. The construction and justification of this argument is made in seven chapters.

The study was carried out in Maputo City and Manhiça district and relied on participant observation. It
also uses a mixture of other qualitative methods which encompassed formal and informal interviews,
documenting of life histories, desk review, and participatory learning for action (PLA).

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN049 Physical anthropology. Somatology > GN296 Medical anthropology
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2015 15:20
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2015 15:20

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