© 2019

Patients, Doctors and Healers

Medical Worlds among the Mapuche in Southern Chile


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Dorthe Brogård Kristensen
    Pages 1-37
  3. Dorthe Brogård Kristensen
    Pages 39-62
  4. Dorthe Brogård Kristensen
    Pages 63-101
  5. Dorthe Brogård Kristensen
    Pages 151-169
  6. Dorthe Brogård Kristensen
    Pages 171-191
  7. Dorthe Brogård Kristensen
    Pages 193-204
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 205-228

About this book


Recognizing the interplay between biomedicine and indigenous medicine among the Mapuche in Southern Chile, this book explores notions of culture and personhood through the bodily experiences and medical choices of patients. Through case studies of patients in the context of medical pluralism,  Kristensen argues that medical practices are powerful social symbol indicative of overarching socio-political processes. As certain types of extreme and violent experiences–known as olvidos–lack a framework that allows them to be expressed openly, they therefore surface as symptoms of an illness, often with no apparent organic pathology. In these contexts, indigenous medicine, thanks to its sensitivity to socio-political contexts, provides a space for articulation and management of collective experiences and suffering among patients in Southern Chile.


machi Mapuche practitioners shamanic healing healing rituals indigenous South America medical pluralism medical anthropology Mapuche politics organic pathology Mapuche-illnesses Augusto Pinochet trauma olvido

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark

About the authors

Dorthe Brogård Kristensen is Associate Professor of Consumption Studies at the University of Southern Denmark. Her current interests include health, food, consumption, technologies and medical pluralism. 

Bibliographic information


“The book is a good and timely contribution to the ethnographic study of Mapuche medical practices and medical pluralism in Chile. It will be greatly enjoyed by social scientists working on indigenous issues both in Chile and Latin America, as well as by medical anthropologists working on medical pluralism, therapeutic efficacies, postcolonialism, and indigenous medicine and witchcraft practices within modern nation-states.” (Adelaida Barros Cajdler, Anthropos, Vol. 115 (1), 2020)