'Who Else Is in the Drawer? ' Trauma, Personhood and Prophylaxis Among Cuban Scientific Spiritists
Espirito Santo, Diana
Anthropology & medicine 2010 Dec; 17(3): 249-59
In this paper the author explores notions of illness and health among a particular group of spirit mediums in Havana: the Sociedad de Estudios Psicologicos Amor y Caridad Universal. For its members and leaders, the development of mediumship is not just therapeutic but prophylactic. And traumas (of spirits and persons) must not simply be acknowledged but metabolised through the execution of good mediumship. More importantly, people's existences are chemically and psychologically entangled with those of their protective spirits, making of their 'selves' systems, rather than bounded essences. The author argues that such concepts of personhood offer alternative modes of understanding the self in relation to forms of otherness, including dysfunction and pathology.
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