Health and healing have been central concerns throughout human history. Individuals and societies have devised multiple ways to health. Healing practices have often been linked to questions of knowledge, power, politics, and morals. The limits of acceptable healing have been contested by men and women, priests and doctors, elites and commoners, indigenous peoples and colonialists. Successful healers have sometimes been labeled as witches, quacks, or dangerous political agitators.
The contributions in this volume concentrate on healing in global history with case studies about Finland, southern Asia and Africa, Brazil, the Caribbean and North America. They discuss medical pluralism and consider the arguments for and against individual healers and different healing systems. The authors focus on the popularity of medical systems, the appropriation and adoption of healing practices in cross-cultural contexts, and the prohibition of certain forms of healing.Book Details
The divine kingship and chiefship of the Asante people of central Ghana have been undergoing a shift towards secularization since the start of the colonial era. Timo Kallinen maintains that a close examination of this transformation provides us with a better understanding of secularization processes in Ghana more broadly, and in other post-colonial societies whose historical development likewise differs from that of the modern West, and which have largely confronted secular modernity through encounters with European colonialism. Throughout the volume secularization is understood as a process in modern society whereby divinity is separated from the ways in which both human society is regulated and physical nature is understood to function.
Divine Rulers in a Secular State has been divided into three thematic parts, each with a short theoretical introduction. In the first two, analysis is primarily inspired by the work of Louis Dumont, while in the third the theoretical ideas of Webb Keane and Bruno Latour are of central importance. The undifferentiated order of the pre-colonial Asante kingdom, in which the chiefly and priestly functions of the rulers were not separated, comprises the initial focus. Sacrifices and marriage exchanges, both of which were directed at establishing and perpetuating relations between the living and the spirits of the dead ancestors, are posited as the most important responsibilities of the chief. Also explored are perceptions that the founding of the kingdom and its authority structure are the results of sacrifices offered to various gods by the Asante king and his chiefs.
The second part examines the dissolution of the traditional order since the onset of British colonial occupation. The secularization process was initiated by the aspirations of colonial administrators and missionary bodies who aimed to maintain Christian converts under the ‘political’ authority of their non-Christian chiefs, who were still important ritual leaders. Consequently, it was necessary to start dividing society along ‘political’ and ‘religious’ lines so that only the former was a mandatory concern for all. The kernel of modern citizenship was planted at the same time as the ‘religious’ conscience of individuals started to shape their rights and duties towards their ‘political’ rulers. Furthermore, theories about Asante as a state based on contract and representation were proposed and developed. In the post-colonial era chiefship has been put into the service of the independent nation state – both as an instrument of administration and a nationalistic symbol, while, most recently, chiefs have been depicted as leaders in civil society, even receiving support from global developmental organizations. Yet traditional chieftaincy is strongly criticized by certain Christian groups belonging to the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement, which still see it as integrally linked to traditional cosmologies.
The third part of the book takes the discussion beyond the separation of the categories of religion and politics. Secularization has also has also entailed the dematerialization of religion, establishing it as something that ought to be understood primarily as mental or spiritual; in a secular society ‘things’ like deities, witchcraft, or sacrifices should not be recognized as proper agents and actions at the level of immanent relations. In Ghana such views are effectively contradicted by religious groups which see spiritual forces as the most powerful agents in social relations. The cases discussed deal with attempted state control of anti-witchcraft activities, the efficiency of protective magic during political upheavals, and Pentecostal notions of demonic influences in secular politics. The Conclusions section brings the themes of the book together by discussing the large-scale effects of the secular project in contemporary Ghanaian society.
Research is based on anthropological fieldwork conducted in Ghana in 2000–2001 and 2005–2006, data drawn from several archival sources located in Ghana and the United Kingdom, and the anthropological and historical literature on Ghana and the Asante.Book Details
This book presents, above all, a study of the establishment and development of the Soviet organization and system of fashion industry and design as it gradually evolved in the years after the Second World War in the Soviet Union, which was, in the understanding of its leaders, reaching the mature or last stage of socialism when the country was firmly set on the straight trajectory to its final goal, Communism. What was typical of this complex and extensive system of fashion was that it was always loyally subservient to the principles of the planned socialist economy. This did not by any means indicate that everything the designers and other fashion professionals did was dictated entirely from above by the central planning agencies. Neither did it mean that their professional judgment would have been only secondary to ideological and political standards set by the Communist Party and the government of the Soviet Union. On the contrary, as our study shows, the Soviet fashion professionals had a lot of autonomy. They were eager and willing to exercise their own judgment in matters of taste and to set the agenda of beauty and style for Soviet citizens.
The present book is the first comprehensive and systematic history of the development of fashion and fashion institutions in the Soviet Union after the Second World War. Our study makes use of rich empirical and historical material that has been made available for the first time for scientific analysis and discussion. The main sources for our study came from the state, party and departmental archives of the former Soviet Union. We also make extensive use of oral history and the writings published in Soviet popular and professional press.Book Details
The chapters of Fibula, Fabula, Fact – The Viking Age in Finland are intended to provide essential foundations for approaching the important topic of the Viking Age in Finland. These chapters are oriented to provide introductions to the sources, methods and perspectives of diverse disciplines in a way that is accessible to specialists from other fields, specialists from outside Finland, and also to non-specialist readers and students who may be more generally interested in the topic. Rather than detailed case studies, the contributors have sought to negotiate definitions of the Viking Age as a historical period in the cultural areas associated with modern-day Finland, and in areas associated with Finns, Karelians and other North Finnic linguistic-cultural groups more generally. Within the incredible diversity of data and disciplines represented here, the Viking Age tends to be distinguished by differentiating it from earlier and later periods, while the geographical space is quite fluidly defined for this era, which was long before the construction of modern nations with their fenced and guarded borders. Most significantly, the contributions lay emphasis on contextualizing the Viking Age within the complexities of defining cultural identities in the past through traces of cultural, linguistic or genetic features.
The volume opens with a general introduction to the topic that is intended to provide a frame of reference for discussion, paralleled by a closing afterward. The following chapters are organized according to three thematic sections which reflect the three aspects of any discussion of the Viking Age in Finland: Time, Space, and People – because any discussion of the ‘Viking Age’ in ‘Finland’ is necessarily concerned with individuals, societies and cultures.Book Details
In the mid-19th century, letters to newspapers in Finland began to condemn a practice known as home thievery, in which farm mistresses pilfered goods from their farms to sell behind the farm master’s back. Why did farm mistresses engage home thievery and why were writers so harsh in their disapproval of it? Why did many men in their letters nonetheless sympathize with women’s pilfering? What opinions did farm daughters express?
This book explores theoretical concepts of agency and power applied to the 19th-century context and takes a closer look at the family patriarch, resistance to patriarchal power by farm mistresses and their daughters, and the identities of those Finnish men who already in the 1850s and 1860s sought to defend the rights of rural farm women.Book Details
Book culture has emerged as an extremely dynamic and border-crossing field of research, internationally and in Finland. The editors and most of the writers of this book were members of the organizing and program committees of the 18th Annual Conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP), Book Culture from Below, that took place in Helsinki in 2010. This book provides, for the first time in English, an overview of an important epoch in Finnish book and reading history. Besides depicting book culture at the periphery of Europe, it contributes to our understanding of the power of the urbanized European literary world of the 1700s.
The new reading culture that emerged in Finland during the 1700s affected readers and all levels of society in many ways. Along with other trends, the arrival of translated fiction and Enlightenment literature from Europe opened and irrevocably altered the Finns’ world view. The change was especially pronounced in cities. Scholars, merchants, craftspersons, as well as military officers stationed at Helsinki’s offshore Sveaborg fortress, acquired world literature and guides intended for professionals at, for example, book auctions.
In this book, researchers from different fields examine the significance and influence of that era’s books from cultural, historical, ideological, and social perspectives. What kinds of books did the citizens of Helsinki really buy, loan, and read during the 1700s? What topics and ideas introduced by the new literature were discussed in salons and reading circles? Who were the books’ large-scale consumers? Who were the literary opinion leaders of their times? Why did people read? Did the books change their readers’ lives?Book Details
Democracy is today a concept that is overwhelmingly positively evaluated almost everywhere. A lot has been written about socio-economic and cultural backgrounds of democratic regimes as well as their institutional settings. By contrast, not much is known about the political manoeuvres and speech acts by which 'democracy' has been tied to particular regions and cultures in concrete historical situations.
This book discusses a series of efforts to rhetorically produce a particular Nordic version of democracy. It shows that the rhetorical figure 'Nordic democracy' was a product of the age of totalitarianism and the Cold War. It explores the ways in which 'Nordic democracy' was used, mainly by the social democrats, to provide the welfare politics with cultural and historical legitimacy and foundations. Thus, it also acknowledges the ideological and geopolitical context in which the 'Nordic welfare state' was conceptualised and canonised.
The contributors of the book are specialists on Nordic politics and history, who share a particular interest in political rhetoric and conceptual history.Book Details
The West has always been a resource for the Finns. Scholars, artists and other professionals have sought contacts from Europe throughout the centuries. The Finnish experience in Western Europe and the New World is a story of migrant laborers, expatriates and specialists working abroad. But you don’t have to be born in Finland to be a Finn. The experiences of second-generation Finnish immigrants and their descendants open up new possibilities for understanding the relationship between Finland and the West.
The Finnish passage westward has not always crossed national borders. Karelian evacuees headed west, as did young people from the Finnish countryside when opportunities to make a living in agriculture and forestry diminished in the post-war era. The legacy of these migrants is still visible in the suburbs of Finnish cities today.
This book is a joint effort of the Department of Ethnology and the Department of History at the University of Helsinki. It was written by Ph. D. students supervised by Academy Research Fellows Maria Lähteenmäki and Hanna Snellman, in collaboration with colleagues abroad interested in current research in ethnology and history.Book Details