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The Quest for Therapy in Lower Zaire

John M. Janzen (Author), Charles Leslie (Foreword), William Arkinstall (Contributor)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 308 pages
ISBN: 9780520046337
June 1982
$33.95, £24.95
In this book, Dr. John M. Janzen describes patterns of healing among the BaKongo of Lower Zaire in Africa, who, like many peoples elsewhere, utilize cosmopolitan medicine alongside traditional healing practices. What criteria, he asks, determine the choice of the alternative therapies? And what is their institutional interrelationship?

In seeking answers, he analyzes case histories and cultural contexts to explore what social transactions, decisionmaking, illness and therapy classifications, and resource allocations are used in the choice of therapy by the ill, their kinfolk, friends, asociates, and specialized practitioners.

From the Preface:

This book presents an "on the ground" ethnographic account of how medical clients of one region of Lower Zaire diagnose illness, select therapies, and evaluate treatments, a process we call "therapy management." The book is intended to clarify a phenomenon of which central African clients have long been cognizant, namely, that medical systems are used in combination. Our study is aimed primarily at readers interested in the practical issues of medical decision-making in an African country, the cultural content of symptoms, and the dynamics of medical pluralism, that is, the existence in a single society of differently designed and conceived medical systems.
List of Illustrations
Foreword, by Charles Leslie
Preface

PART ONE: THE AREA OF STUDY
1. The Human Setting of Healing in Lower Zaire
2. A History of Medical Pluralism in Lower Zaire

PART TWO: STUDIES IN KONGO ILLNESS AND THERAPY
An Introductory Note
3. Disease of God, Disease of Man
4. Strife in the Family As Cause of Child's Illness
5. A History of Madness
6. The Professional as Kinsman
7. Marriage and the Father's Blessing
8. The Clan as Patient

PART THREE: THE LOGIC OF THERAPEUTIC SYSTEMS
An Introductory Note
9. The Jural Status of Therapy in Kongo Society
10. Interpreting Symptoms
11. Contemporary Systems of Popular Medicine in Lower Zaire
12. Toward an Integrated Medicine

Appendix A. Episodes of Case Studies Reported in Chapters 3-8
Appendix B. Herbarium of Medicinal Plants
Bibliography of Works Cited
Glossary-Index
John M. Janzen is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Kansas. His books include Lemba 1650-1930 (1982) and Ngoma: Discourses of Healing in Central and Southern Africa (California, 1992).

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