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Look Inside Illness and Healing among the Sakhalin Ainu

Illness and Healing among the Sakhalin Ainu
A Symbolic Interpretation


  • Date Published: May 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107634787

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About the Authors
  • Originally published in 1981, this book explores the issue of how a society understands human illness in the absence of a germ theory. This is done through an interpretation of the illness categories and healing practices of the Sakhalin Ainu, a hunting and gathering people resettled in Japan. The text illustrates how illnesses relate to the Ainu view of the universe and how their medical system is intimately interwoven with their moral cosmology and social networks. Even such minor ailments as headaches and boils are meticulously classified to mirror the classifications of such basic perceptual structures as space and time. With the Ainu medical system as an example, this book probes questions central to research in symbolic, medical and linguistic anthropology, structuralism, and the anthropology of women.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107634787
    • length: 262 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.36kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Ainu phonemes
    1. Introduction: aims and scope of the book
    2. The Ainu
    3. The ethnomedical approach in anthropology and the Ainu domain of illness
    4. Habitual illnesses
    5. Classification of body-part and skin illnesses
    6. Metaphysical illnesses and their healing rituals
    7. A symbolic interpretation of metaphysical illnesses and healing rituals
    8. Theories in symbolic studies and the Ainu data
    9. Modes of perception and the classification of illnesses: a synthesis
    10. Language and cognition: theoretical and methodological problems in arriving at perceptual categories
    11. Illness, the individual, and society
    Appendix A. Details of Ainu habitual illnesses
    Appendix B. Beings and objects used in the cures of habitual illnesses
    Appendix C. Imu:
    Appendix D. Biological, cultural, and linguistic identity of the Ainu
    Appendix E. The history of the Sakhalin Ainu

  • Author

    Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, University of Wisconsin, Madison

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