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    The Globalization of Ayahuasca

    29.11.2023

    From growing up in the jungle to practicing ayahuasca in the city: An exploration of
    the globalization of ayahuasca in terms of authenticity, self-care, and the challenges of such
    globalization for medical anthropology

    Authors:
    Maja Kohek, José Carlos Bouso, and Genís Oña.

    Journal:
    Revista de Antropología Social

    Year:
    2023

     

    About the study

    This study offers an in-depth look at the globalization of ayahuasca, focusing on the case of a woman who migrated from the Amazon rainforest to Barcelona. The paper explores how her experience reflects the interaction between traditional shamanic practices and modern urban contexts. This analysis allows for a broader understanding of how globalization affects traditional spiritual and medical practices, highlighting the fluidity and adaptability of shamanism, religion and health.

    The article discusses how the protagonist integrates practices from different traditions, including ayahuasca, kambô and sananga, in her role as a healer in an urban setting. It also addresses the question of authenticity in ayahuasca practice, emphasizing how shamanic rituals and practices are dynamic and evolve with time and place. It is argued that these practices should not be judged strictly in terms of authenticity, but rather as examples of cross-cultural and transgenerational exchange.

    Finally, the article concludes with a reflection on the role of medical anthropology in understanding the challenges posed by the globalization of ayahuasca. It highlights the need to consider shamanic practices as dynamic ethnomedical knowledge and practices, which go beyond the conventional biomedical perspective.

     

    Abstract

    This paper is a case study of a woman who migrated to Barcelona from the Brazilian rainforest seventeen years ago and her journey to becoming a healer working with ayahuasca, kambô (frog venom), and sananga (herbal eye drops). The concepts of authenticity, communitas, and self-care are discussed. We argue that shamanism, religion, and healthcare are all fluid, dynamic processes that influence, interact with, and absorb their surroundings. Exploring the compatibilities between beliefs and practices from different traditions mixed with biomedical approaches helps us broaden our understanding of the relationships between religion or spirituality, health, and well-being. We conclude this manuscript by requesting the medical anthropology community offer insight into the complex challenges arising with the globalization of ayahuasca practices.

     

    Link to the study

     

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    Photo by Sydtomcat on Wikimedia Commons.

     

    Categories: Studies & papers , Ayahuasca
    Tags: self-care , authenticity , ayahuasca , Santo Daime , scientific research , study , shamanism , global , psychedelics , community , hallucinogens