Uncanny Memories, Violence and Indigenous Medicine

  • Dorthe Brogård Kristensen


This chapter explores the relationship between the medical practice of the machis and issues relating to memory and violence, one of the olvidos of Chile. Freud’s concept of the uncanny is analysed, not in the original psychoanalytic sense as a part of the individual mind, but as part of a collective framework for remembering and acting in connection with experiences of terror and destruction. Exploring a case study of illness, I argue that memories of violence are articulated and negotiated through the social framework available in a given context, in this case personal narrative, bodily symptoms and indigenous medical practices. Medical practices and disease categories can serve to articulate, confront and rework situations of terror and the threat of personal destruction in connection with memories of state violence. This happens because, through medical practices, the body acquires the vocabulary, images and agency necessary for expressing and negotiating experiences of terror and destruction.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorthe Brogård Kristensen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark

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