Plural traditions?
Folk therapeutics and ‘English’ medicine in Rajasthan
in Western medicine as contested knowledge
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This chapter considers ethnographic and historical material to examine the contemporary character of medical pluralism in rural Rajasthan, North India. The social organisation of rural therapeutic practice and the conceptual structuring of lay people's preferences for different forms of treatment offer some clues for an archaeological investigation. The archaeological investigation reveals the relationships between different medical traditions since the introduction of Western medicine in Rajasthan. As a native state, Rajputana probably saw the development of European medical facilities take a different route from areas of India under direct administration. The local interpretation of the effects of biomedical therapy offers a useful illustration of historical changes in the relationship between the biomedicine and the traditional medicine. A particular feature of the contemporary provision of medical treatment in rural areas is that different specialist practitioners administer each form of therapy.


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