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Panaceas for urban ills. Traditional medicine and the management of everyday crises in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria

Kondo, Hidetoshi; (1997) Panaceas for urban ills. Traditional medicine and the management of everyday crises in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis reports the results of 26 months field research in the city of Kaduna, Northern Nigeria. It argues that the complexity of urban medical cultures cannot be understood in terms of a concept of system nor is it adequately grasped by the idea of articulation of local and global medical cultures. Rather, it should be approached from the perspectives of cultural flow and action. Thus, cases of traditional medicine and therapy management should be examined as particular configurations of the forms and distribution of knowledge and power, and the action of individual agencies. In African contexts, it is also important to analyze illness as a part of everyday crises. In Kaduna, a city that has expanded phenomenally owing to migration, medical cultures are in a state of flux. The agencies that affect health-related action are pluralistic and exercise temporary and limited control over patients. Under these conditions, their quest for therapy is marked by situational action and successive appropriation of different ideas and practices including those which they encounter during the course of this quest. However, such situational action tends to result in temporary solutions and repeated failures, contributing to considerable uncertainty. It is in this condition of uncertainty that traditional medicine thrives. People employ traditional therapies mostly in combination with other practices (e.g. Western medicine) either serially or simultaneously. The objectives of traditional medicine are diverse, ranging from cures of physical afflictions to solutions for everyday social and economic problems. Yet the changes in the modes of therapy employed are not dramatic but incremental - they consist of combinations of ethnic and regionally specific elements, conjoined with more universally appealing elements. Hence, traditional medicine exemplifies multiple appropriations of particular cultural forms. It is also highly commercialised and many healers practise them as a diversification of their business strategies. In that sense, healers are entrepreneurs as well as medical practitioners.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Panaceas for urban ills. Traditional medicine and the management of everyday crises in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10103386
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