Competing for medical space: Traditional Practitioners in the Transmission and Promotion of Siddha Medicine

Abstract : Siddha medicine is practised in Tamil Nadu and used by Tamil community living in India and in some foreign countries (Asia; Gulf countries). Since the British times, this medical system has faced up to the competition with western medicine as well as with ayurveda, so that it has suffered a significant erosion of its knowledge transmitted within the lineages of practitioners. However, in the last decades, it enjoys a strong movement of revival from the traditional practitioners which is worth studying. This is the theme that I will document in this article by relying on several examples of siddha practitioners who, in various levels and in different contexts, are distinguished by their ability to develop and make known their medicine, to improve the transmission of their knowledge, to adjust their practices and to innovate in order to respond to the request of their clients who consult them for 'new' pathologies (metabolic diseases, cancer). By its characteristics that differ from the ayurveda, siddha medicine presents a pertinent subject for assessing the capacity of innovation and flexibility of its practitioners' to respond to the competition with other medical systems and to cope with the rules ordered by the government to avoid medical malpractices.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 11:21:49 AM
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Brigitte Sébastia. Competing for medical space: Traditional Practitioners in the Transmission and Promotion of Siddha Medicine. 2011. ⟨hal-00597062⟩

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