A Continuing Trial of Treatment: Medical Pluralism in Papua by Stephen Frankel, Gilbert Lewis

By Stephen Frankel, Gilbert Lewis

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A pragmatism that is materialist and realist? Empirical curiosity? Closed conservatism? Millenarian enthusiasm? Magical outlook? Syncretic openness? Opportunism? Political pressure? Distribution of resources and access to them? Beliefs about power? Eagerness for modem things, progress and "cargo"? Differences of education and information? Shrewd assessment on the basis of limited evidence? Religious persuasion? Charismatic and forceful leaders? Innocence or ignorance? 26 STEPHEN FRANKEL AND GILBERT LEWIS Carrier's account of the interplay of complex influences on Ponam brings in a wide variety of these in a history of shifting events: opposition between the Catholic church and Paliau's New Way movement; the synthesis of traditional and Christian views of the relations between God, sin and sickness; the organization and effectiveness of local care; developments in education and political opportunity.

An inhospitable coast and a rugged mountain range caused the colonial tide to wash around the Torricelli foothills. Permanent German settlement at Aitape began in 1896 but as late as 1910 many foothills villagers and the foreigners on the coast were ignorant of each others' existence. Yet infection and death came sweeping through Urat villages as though on the wings of a bird. This man was angry over the death of his child [by sorcery]. His name was Bwasale. The name of his son was Morosopun. He was a fine child.

Innocence or ignorance? 26 STEPHEN FRANKEL AND GILBERT LEWIS Carrier's account of the interplay of complex influences on Ponam brings in a wide variety of these in a history of shifting events: opposition between the Catholic church and Paliau's New Way movement; the synthesis of traditional and Christian views of the relations between God, sin and sickness; the organization and effectiveness of local care; developments in education and political opportunity. Issues of illness and its explanation seem in that case thrown into high ideological relief by the bitterness of rivalry, the political and religious oppositions, the intensity and drama of some of the changes they have experienced.

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