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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Prayers, Amulets, and Charms: Health and Social Control
Author:Handloff, Robert
Year:1982
Periodical:African Studies Review
Volume:25
Issue:2-3
Period:July-September
Pages:185-194
Language:English
Geographic terms:Ivory Coast - Côte d'Ivoire
Africa
Subjects:healers
psychotherapy
divination
Dyula
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Health and Nutrition
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/524216
Abstract:Medical sociologists have examined the role of medical establishments in the exercise of social control. Their definition of social control as 'the means by which society secures adherence to social norms' implies the power to impose a particular difinition of the world on its members. This definition is central to the purpose of this paper, which describes and analyzes in a West African context (Bondoukou, a city in eastern Ivory Coast) the use of prayers, amulets and charms in the distribution of health services and, at the societal level, their role in social control. In Dyula medecine social control operates primarily as a collection of beliefs, morals, and internalized norms all subsumed under the rubric of selfcontrols, and relational controls which include such every day interactions as gossip, ridicule, and group support. The Dyula were recent settlers in Bondoukou. They were all Muslims and mostly traders who made Bondoukou the principal market and largest city in the kingdom of Gyaman. The Dyula 'karamokos' (healers), incorporating western medecine into their traditional practice, continue to exercise social control. Notes, ref.
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