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

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Health-seeking nomads and faith-healing in a medically pluralistic context in Mbeya, Tanzania. / Gammelin, Lotta.

I: Mission Studies, Vol. 35, Nr. 2, 01.01.2018, s. 245-264.

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Health-seeking nomads and faith-healing in a medically pluralistic context in Mbeya, Tanzania

AU - Gammelin, Lotta

PY - 2018/1/1

Y1 - 2018/1/1

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

KW - Charismatic Christianity

KW - Faith-healing

KW - Health seeking behavior

KW - Medical pluralism

KW - Tanzania

KW - Vulnerability

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85049231125&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1163/15733831-12341569

DO - 10.1163/15733831-12341569

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85049231125

VL - 35

SP - 245

EP - 264

JO - Mission Studies

JF - Mission Studies

SN - 0168-9789

IS - 2

ER -