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Barnard College

Publication Date

Summer 2014

Program Name

Madagascar: Traditional Medicine and Health Care Systems


Building on a period of research in central highlands and eastern Madagascar between June and early July 2014, in which interviews were conducted with traditional and allopathic medical practitioners as well as ordinary Malagasy, this paper primarily seeks to rectify gaps in contemporary Western research on narrative medicine. It investigates narrative practices in traditional Malagasy healing, as well as the ways in which narrative is deployed in formal and informal preventative health efforts. In doing so, it seeks to suggest expansions of what constitutes "narrative health." It also problematizes the Western narrative health movement's emphasis on literary theory and analysis, arguing that ethnographic research on traditional medicinal practices may provide valuable yet under recognized insight into the various uses of narrative in maintaining well-being.


Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Medicine and Health Sciences


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