From Lineage Transmission to Transnational Distance Education: The Case of Siddha Varma Medicine

Abstract : Studies on transnational healthcare tend to focus on the flows of institutions, practices and people rather than on the flow of knowledge. This article seeks to fill this gap by exploring the modes of instruction in siddha medicine and, in particular, varmam or "vital spot" manipulations. It compares the instruction of hereditary practitioners in South India and their intimate, long-term learning relationship to that of a newly established learning course which aims to attract foreign students and provides lessons and exams by e-mail. While the former mode employs tactile techniques, the latter is largely based on the transference of textual knowledge. The article recognizes modalities of knowledge transmission, intentions of teachers, and perceptions of students as important sites for the study of therapeutic transnationalism. Entrepreneurial forces are a key element, but have hitherto rarely been acknowledged as such with regard to siddha medicine. This article finally shows that not only Asian medicines but also their transnational means of instruction have become marketable commodities.
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Roman Sieler. From Lineage Transmission to Transnational Distance Education: The Case of Siddha Varma Medicine. European Journal of Transnational Studies, 2013, 5 (1), pp.112-143. ⟨hal-00843297⟩

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