Health-seeking nomads and faith-healing in a medically pluralistic context in Mbeya, Tanzania

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The popularity of faith-healing in sub-Saharan Africa has been widely acknowledged in research, but mostly treated as a phenomenon apart, instead of being viewed in relation to other modes of healing. In this article I focus on the reasons why believers choose faith-healing in a medically pluralistic situation and how they see other healing options available in a locally founded Charismatic church community, the Gospel Miracle Church for All People (GMCL), in the Southern Tanzanian city of Mbeya. I propose that, in order to see the medically pluralistic context in Tanzania through the journeys of health-seeking nomads, the focus must lie on two intertwined aspects of faith-healing: first, it is inevitably based on the need to be healed and speaks of a failure of biomedicine to explain illness and provide healing; and second, the long journeys that are made in search of healing mean traversing boundaries and switching between parallel healing systems: biomedicine, traditional healing, and faith-healing. While health seeking nomads are in many ways in a vulnerable position, I suggest that their ability to move from one healing option to another speaks of agency: not in the sense of full control over their life situations but, rather, as a way of coming to terms with their illness.


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Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Religionsvetenskap


Sidor (från-till)245-264
Antal sidor20
TidskriftMission Studies
Utgåva nummer2
StatusPublished - 2018 jan 1
Peer review utfördJa