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Accepted Paper:

Mekelle as a 'market of therapies': healers dealing with social and political transformations  
Alessia Villanucci (Comitato Collaborazione Medica)

Paper short abstract:


Paper long abstract:

Starting from the anthropological debate on the professionalization of traditional medicine in developing countries, the paper will sketch the plural medical system of Mekelle (Tigray, Ethiopia) as a "market of therapies", characterized by relations of cooperation and competition shaping the therapeutic offer.

Mekelle is an expanding town, involved in a deep economic and social transformation: from a socialist model, Ethiopia is going towards the liberalization of the health system and the opening to the private enterprise.

Questioning the dichotomy between tradition and modernity, the A. proposes to classify local therapeutic resources within three sectors: a governmental (biomedical), a no-profit (biomedical) and a private one (biomedical and traditional). The paper will focus on the strategies by which some traditional healers "move" into the medical system, facing the social and political changes and negotiating the prospect of their integration into the official health care system as part of the emerging private sector.

Panel W121
Uncertainties, risk and socio-political change: medical pluralism and diverse agencies
  Session 1