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Accepted Paper:

Ideas and understandings of 'evolution' in the context of contemporary non-conventional healing in Lithuania  
Reda Šatūnienė (Lithuanian University of Health Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

Paper explores ideas and understandings of 'evolution' in the context of non-conventional healing in Lithuania via insiders' perspective. It analyzes representations, meanings and interpretations of 'the process of 'human evolution' as a part of a larger worldview / life-philosophy.

Paper long abstract:

Since the beginning of my research (and general interest, which started much earlier than formal research) on representations of contemporary non-conventional healing practices (such as breathing techniques, particular body/mind practices), as well as witnessing growing popularity of wellness oriented lifestyles, a number of interpretations and meanings of what could possibly be the cause, were pondered. One of the main lines of interpretation was the one about a need / tendency of a constant development of a human in concordance with social change.

After conducting twenty-five semi-structured in-depth interviews with non-conventional healing upholders, a corresponding number of participant observations of healing practices, an idea (belief?) of an 'evolution' in sense of 'becoming a better human' generated vividly. This notion catalyzed for more detailed study on what is exactly meant by the term 'evolution' within the frames of gathered data: how, under what circumstances / contexts it is constructed? What are the meanings of this concept, according research participants? How the idea of 'evolution' is combined within a larger picture of 'healing / wellness strategies', and / or 'becoming a better human'?

The aim of the presentation is to expose variety of understandings, and interpretations of 'evolution' within a field of non-conventional healing practices as a form of wellness lifestyle (and philosophy), and simultaneously to draw patterns of the discourse of change ('evolution') / 'becoming a better human' evolving in specific (sub)cultural formation(s). Representations of 'evolution' will be analyzed in both 'inner' (mind, spirit) and 'outer' (body; external environment) universe.

Panel P091a
Body/mind as space(s) of struggle and experiment: explorations, expansions and experience(s) of human limits
  Session 1 Friday 24 July, 2020, -