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Spiritualists, Witches, and Healers: Healing in the Gray Areas of Medicine

Healing midwives, hygienists and doctors

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Healers, Midwives, Healers, and Doctors: The Healing Arts of Modern Argentina

Director: Diego Armas

Publisher: Economic Culture Fund

In 1925, the newspaper La NaciĆ³n noted that Mother Mary “has given to everyone, rich and poor, what science cannot give and religion refuses to give.” Although medicine from the eighteenth century began to define the subject of its study and sought to become official, it did not always succeed in replacing the healing arts, practices, and knowledge concerned with providing some form of treatment and care for people’s ailments. What happens when health system institutions are inadequate or inaccessible, or when people do not trust them? What happens outside of those areas? What do you do with the ailments and diseases against which approved medicine fails to express effective responses? Diego Armos compiles here a series of articles showing that for centuries those who practice the healing arts have participated in the healing paths of rich and poor, educated or uneducated, strong or weak. It also indicates the permanent presence of these hybrids in the health care of large sections of Argentine society from the middle of the nineteenth century until the present. It is about traditions and cultures of interest that are not static, but are the result of very diverse mixing, exchanges and reinterpretations. Healers, midwives, therapists, and physicians show that medicine and medical therapy constitute an uncertain, hesitant, and constantly contested field. Trying to heal and trying to heal have been, and will continue to be, efforts characterized by the most diverse offerings of care.

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