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Medical Mimesis: Healing Signs of a Cosmopolitan "Quack"

Jean M. Langford
American Ethnologist
Vol. 26, No. 1 (Feb., 1999), pp. 24-46
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/647497
Page Count: 23
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Medical Mimesis: Healing Signs of a Cosmopolitan "Quack"
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Abstract

Drawing on recent insights into mimesis, I address the question of authenticity in indigenous medicine through an ethnography of an Ayurvedic pulse reader. I trace the conflicting rhetorics of authenticity spun by the doctor, the colleagues who consider him a quack, and myself. Ultimately I question the rituals of signification by which distinctions are drawn between medicine and placebo, doctor and quack, expertise and gimmickry, and between authentic cultural object and consumer-oriented copy. [medicine, mimesis, semiotics, Ayurveda, India, quackery]

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