Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Foley R.
Medical Humanities
Indigenous Narratives of Health: (Re)Placing Folk-Medicine within Irish Health Histories
2 ()
Optional Fields
CAM Folk medicine Healing Ireland Water cures
© 2014, The Author(s). With the increased acceptance of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) within society, new research reflects deeper folk health histories beyond formal medical spaces. The contested relationships between formal and informal medicine have deep provenance and as scientific medicine began to professionalise in the 19th century, lay health knowledges were simultaneously absorbed and disempowered (Porter 1997). In particular, the ‘medical gaze’ and the responses of informal medicine to this gaze were framed around themes of power, regulation, authenticity and narrative reputation. These responses were emplaced and mobile; enacted within multiple settings by multiple agents and structures over time. The work is drawn from secondary material from Ireland, which identify more indigenous narratives of health and act as potential sources for medical humanities. While assumptions have been made as to the place of folk-medicine being essentially rural, evidence will be presented which shows a more complex network of health beliefs and practices. The narratives of informal practice and folk-medicine drawn from evidence from Ireland point to more fluid and hybrid relations with formal medicine and suggest that the complementary nature of the two models reflected wider cultural debates and models of belief (Del Casino Jnr., Health & Place 10:59-73, 2004).
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