What is it like to be a Muslim possessed by a jinn spirit? How do you find refuge
from madness and evil spirits in a place like Denmark? As elsewhere in
Europe and North America, Danish Muslims have become hypervisible through
intensive state monitoring, surveillance, and media coverage. Yet their religion
remains poorly understood and is frequently identified by politicians,
commentators, and even healthcare specialists as the underlying invisible cause
of ‘integration problems’. Over several years Christian Suhr followed
Muslim patients being treated in a Danish mosque and in a psychiatric hospital.
With this book and award-winning film he provides a unique account of the
invisible dynamics of possession and psychosis, and an analysis of how the
bodies and souls of Muslim patients are shaped by the conflicting demands of
Islam and the psychiatric institutions of European nation-states. The book
reveals how both psychiatric and Islamic healing work not only to produce relief
from pain, but also entail an ethical transformation of the patient and the
cultivation of religious and secular values through the experience of pain.
Creatively exploring the analytic possibilities provided by the use of a camera,
both text and film show how disruptive ritual techniques are used in healing to
destabilise individual perceptions and experiences of agency, so as to allow
patients to submit to the invisible powers of psychotropic medicine or God.
explanation, Jørgen told me about the great significance of placebo in all healthcare. His explanation was strongly critical and, to use Michael Taussig's ( 1999 : 3) vocabulary, even defacing of the truth-value of this peculiar practice of healing through blood tapping. Yet in a curious way Jørgen's defacement of the Islamic healing practices also evolved into a self-critique, a kind of self-defacement:
‘We're allowed to reveal that it is the procedures in contact with a human being that count the most.’ Jørgen continues: ‘We can give a
bequeath to the white friars at London, to pray for me, 20s.; also
to the prioress and convent of Clerkenwell, to pray for me, 40s.;
also to the prioress and convent of Langley, to pray for me, 40s.
Also, I will that a thousand masses and as many recitations of
Placebo and Dirige be said for me immediately
after my decease, with each priest to have 4d. (the total for this
through one nostril, these
studies were placebo-controlled and double-blind. This means that
neither the scientists nor the study participants knew who got the
real OT versus a dummy spray until after the results were in. (This
kind of design is usually considered the gold standard for assessing
causation. On the other hand, it’s also been called a “golden calf”
because scientists are sometimes so in awe of it they forget to properly
examine the actual study materials, statistics, or results.)
These foundational studies have delivered a range of important,
treatment, and another be given the experimental and hopefully more effective treatment; or (b) one group will be given a new drug, and the other a placebo. 126 For an outsider there are a number of worrying features to RCTs. First, there is again the question of consent. Second, there is concern that the control group is denied a chance of superior treatment. 127 In particular, public anxiety was highlighted by a trial involving 3,000 women at risk of conceiving a spina bifida baby. Studies had shown that similar women appeared to suffer a reduced incidence of
practice equates to authoritative recognition and corroboration of a medical problem: emotive success. In and of itself this was doubtless a form of relief.
It has become newly important in such figures of pathology and cure, therefore, to make a serious commitment to exploring how far remedies actually worked. In what Javier Moscoso has called the ‘moral economy of hope’, historians of experience and cultural historians of medicine take seriously contemporary research into the placebo effect and ask how historical iterations of this might have been brought
with the money or sums of money derived from the aforesaid lands,
tenements, rents and services, hold and observe the anniversary of
Richard Smyth and Alice his wife, the father and mother of me the
aforesaid Christina, within the college or Chapel of St George
abovesaid, on the 1st day of the month of March, as is fitting,
solemnly singing Placebo and Dirige for the souls of
convent of the
abbey of the Blessed Mary, York, for one obit, namely Placebo
and Dirige 21 and a Requiem Mass to be said for my soul and
for the souls of my parents and all the faithful departed, £2 . I leave to my wife, Margaret,
one gold ring with a ruby set and one chest bound with iron, being
in the abbey of the Blessed Mary. And to William my son, two other
Placebo-Controlled Trials and HIV Infected
Pregnant Women in Developing Countries: Ethical Imperialism or Unethical
Exploitation?’, Bioethics, 15:4 (2001), pp. 289–311; p. 290.
29 J. Harris, ‘Pro-Life is Anti-Life: The Problematic Claims of Pro-Life Positions
Grounding moral arguments
in Ethics’, in M. Hayri and T. Takala (eds.), Scratching the Surface of Bioethics
(Amsterdam, New York: Rodopy, 2003), pp. 99–109.
30 Ibid. p. 100.
31 Ibid. p. 101.