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This is a comprehensive survey, in both its theory and its practice, of the Tabwa who live on the western shore of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo (fomerly Zaire). The following topics are covered: concepts of the body and of illness, illness categories and approaches to diagnosis, divination and the meaning of illness in the life-histories of individuals and lineage groups. Moving to a broader perspective, it embraces therapies both of bodily events ('medicine') and of social circumstances ('magic' and 'religion'), and relates them to the cosmological beliefs which link and underwrite all three. Based on nearly four years of fieldwork, Dr Davis' book is the most complete study so far of an African therapeutic system. In contrast to most ethnographies of medicine, which take social structures as primary and treat medical knowledge as an extension or reflection of it, this study focuses on the medical system itself. When medicine is thus considered first as an indigenous or vernacular science, it is soon seen that much of what passes for an inderstanding of ritual, magic and religion in Africa is thin and misconceived. Death in Abeyance was awarded the 2002 Wellcome Medal (Royal Anthropological Institute).

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780748613052
ISBN-10: 0748613056
Format: Paperback
(234mm x 156mm x 24mm)
Pages: 342
Imprint: Edinburgh University Press
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Publish Date: 26-Jul-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Christopher Davis

Christopher Davis is a Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.

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