Exploring the Nexus of Health, Religion/Spirituality and Healing

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:00-10:30
Location: Hörsaal 32 (Main Building)
RC15 Sociology of Health (host committee)

Language: English

The variability of health, illness, and medicine in different socio-cultural contexts is well known and acknowledged in sociology, but what is less known is the relationship between health and the various modes of healing adopted by human groups, especially those in non-western societies. Until recently, non-biomedical forms of healing had been relatively confined to non-western societies.
However, the ubiquitous forms of non-western healing practices in western societies (referred to as alternative medicine or holistic medicine) today suggest their increasing popularity and appeal as an important alternative to biomedicine. 
Within the context of dwindling economic fortunes, invasive biomedicines, and the need for wholeness, it is appropriate to examine the complex and often misunderstood relationship between health, religion/spirituality and the healing process. 
In this session, we will explore this grey area of health and medicine. We invite theoretical and/or empirical papers that focus on any aspect of the following areas: 

  • interrogation of the key concepts of healing, curing, religion/spirituality and sickness/illness; 
  • theorization of the body in relation to illness and healing; 
  • esoteric and metaphoric language in the healing process; 
  • the socio-economic dimension of alternative medicine; 
  • gender differentials in healing practices; 
  • religion/spirituality and chronic diseases.
Session Organizer:
Alex ASAKITIKPI, Monash South Africa, South Africa
Linking Faith and Complementary Therapies in Cancer Care for African-Americans
Sandra SULZER, Utah State University, USA; Lindsey HAYNES-MASLOW, Union of Concerned Scientists, USA; Christine SMITH, Xavier University of Louisiana, USA
Migration, Insecurity, and the Steaming Body: Healing Rituals in Johannesburg
Lorena NUNEZ, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; Peter KANKONDE, African Center for Migration and Society- Wits, South Africa; Melekias ZULU, African Centre for Migration and Society - Wits, South Africa
Botanicas Unplugged: Latinos' Religious Healing and the Impact of the Immigrant Continuum
Anahi VILADRICH, Queens College & The Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA
Elderly Abuse and Stigma Avoidance through Religious Involvement Among Elderly People in a Yoruba Community, Southwest Nigeria
Ojo Melvin AGUNBIADE, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, Nigeria; Funmilayo AFOLABI, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
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