Adams, Vincanne, 1959-. Production of self and body in Sherpa-Tibetan society

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Title: Production of self and body in Sherpa-Tibetan society

Published in: Anthropological approaches to the study of ethnomedicine, edited by Mark Nichter

Published By: Anthropological approaches to the study of ethnomedicine, edited by Mark Nichter Yverdon, Switzerland ; Langhorne, Pa.: Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, 1992. 149-189 p.

By line: Vincanne Adams

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2004. Computer File

Culture: Sherpa (AK06)

Subjects: Magical and mental therapy (755); Theological systems (779); Prophets and ascetics (792); Ethnopsychology (828);

Abstract: Following Foucault's theories of modern bio-power and governmentality, Adams argues that Buddhist medico-religious practices construct a subjectivity that resembled that of European modernity and which made possible the rise of the Tibetan state in the 13th century. He examines the medical practices of the Khumba Sherpas who are culturally Tibetan, having emigrated to Nepal in the 16th century. According to Adams, Sherpas have a tripartite notion of self, one that is social, mental, and physical. Medical practitioners, including shamans (LAWAS) and monks (LAMAS) specialize which self they treat. The former cure disorders of the 'social' self and the latter those of the body and consciousness. The division of self into mental and physical components allowed for mindful discipline of the body in Buddhist ascetic practices and the self-regulation of people in the theocratic state. Adams discusses the changes in cosmologies and notions of self between the pre-Buddhist and Buddhist periods, and examines in detail Buddhist AMCHI medical theory and practice.

Document Number: 15

Document ID: ak06-015

Document Type: Essay

Language: English

Field Date: 1982, 1986-1987

Evaluation: Anthropologist-4,5

Analyst: Ian Skoggard ; 2002

Coverage Date: 640-1990

Coverage Place: Nepal and Tibet

LCSH: Sherpa (Nepalese people)

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