Finding and Foregrounding Massage in Khoisan Ethnography.

Finding and Foregrounding Massage in Khoisan Ethnography.

Author: 
Low, Chris
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis
Date published: 
2007
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of Southern African Studies (JSAS)
Source: 
Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 33 - No. 4 - December 2007; pp. 783 - 799.
Abstract: 

This article demonstrates that massage is a commonplace and important healing strategy amongst 'Khoisan'. Ethnograpghic and anthropoligical literature, however, does not seem to reflect this and largely ignores or downplays massage. The article accounts for this apparent anomaly in terms of the contingency of the ethnographic eye. I contend that te primary reasons for this partiality concern the 'everyday' and 'recognisable' nature of massage and that the low medical status accorded massage through history has persistently deflected ethnographic interest. I further suggest that an overwhelming anthropological focus on the San healing dance has overshadowed recent research into healing strategies and perpetuated an uneven representation of Khoisan medicine. The article then describes how massage and the dance relate to one another in a wider healing context. By linking the dance and massage in this manner, I suggest how aspects of current massage practice continue to operate within distinctive and old Koisan ways of thinking about and practising medicine. The article ends by presenting examples of 'Khoi' disease categories and their treatment by massage. Whilst not going so far as to iedentify a Khoisan 'medical system', the article uses massage to lay the bones of a distinctive and coherent approach to illness and treatment.

Language: 

CITATION: Low, Chris. Finding and Foregrounding Massage in Khoisan Ethnography. . : Taylor & Francis , 2007. Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 33 - No. 4 - December 2007; pp. 783 - 799. - Available at: http://library.au.int/finding-and-foregrounding-massage-khoisan-ethnography-3