EurekaMag.com logo
+ Site Statistics
References:
52,725,316
Abstracts:
28,411,598
+ Search Articles
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
EurekaMag Most Shared ContentMost Shared
EurekaMag PDF Full Text ContentPDF Full Text
+ PDF Full Text
Request PDF Full TextRequest PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on FacebookFollow on Facebook
Follow on TwitterFollow on Twitter
Follow on Google+Follow on Google+
Follow on LinkedInFollow on LinkedIn

+ Translate

The ambiguity of symbols in the structure of healing


Social Science & Medicine 24(4): 293-302
The ambiguity of symbols in the structure of healing
In his article, The Effectiveness of Symbols', Levi-Strauss contends that the details of a Cuna birth incantation evoke specific physiological responses from parturient women, aiding them through difficult labors. His argument, which analyzes the incantation as a text divorced from its social setting, has drawn criticism from students of Cuna society on a number of substantive points, primarily centering around the difficulties that the special linguistic form of ritual language would present to a non-adept. If the patient lacks a thorough comprehension of the mythic details, how can the incantation change her physiological processes? In an attempt to evaluate the effect of myth upon a woman in labor, this article calls upon Cuna and Malay ethnographic data, and presents a Malay birth incantation as interpreted by the ritual practitioner who recited it. Following a discussion of the non-semantic aspects of the incantation and the extent to which the patient shares the interpretation of the healer in both the Malay and Cuna societies, recent biomedical studies are cited in support of hypotheses concerning the physiological and biochemical effects of myth in the management of childbirth.

Accession: 006599024

PMID: 2436303

DOI: 10.1016/0277-9536(87)90148-1

Download PDF Full Text: The ambiguity of symbols in the structure of healing



Related references

Ambiguity of human gene symbols in LocusLink and MEDLINE: creating an inventory and a disambiguation test collection. AMIA ... Annual Symposium Proceedings. AMIA Symposium: 704-708, 2004

Healing and the invention of metaphor: the effectiveness of symbols revisited. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 17(2): 161-195, 1993

Study of the correlation between association of symbols with numbers and numbers with symbols, in relation to the IQ and capacity to memorize symbols and numbers in normal and schizophrenic subjects. Rivista Sperimentale di Freniatria E Medicina Legale Delle Alienazioni Mentali 91(2): 522-530, 1967

Psychomotoricity in association of symbols with numbers and numbers with symbols in relation to the capacity to memorize symbols and numbers in normal subjects and mental patients. Study of 251 subjects. Rivista Sperimentale di Freniatria E Medicina Legale Delle Alienazioni Mentali 93(1): 91-109, 1969

Graphic symbols for all using symbols in developing the ability of questioning in young children. Journal of Assistive Technologies 7(1): 22-33, 2013

Mental symbols and genetic symbols: Analogies between theoretical perspectives in biology and cognitive science. Behavioural Processes 35(1-3): 251-261, 1995

Mental symbols and genetic symbols: Analogies between theoretical perspectives in biology and cognitive science. Behavioural Processes 35(1-3): 251-261, 1995

The benefit of symbols: monkeys show linear, human-like, accuracy when using symbols to represent scalar value. Animal Cognition 13(5): 711-719, 2010

What are symbols symbols of? Situated action, mythological bootstrapping and the emergence of the Self. Journal of Analytical Psychology 49(1): 67-81, 2004

Healing loss, ambiguity, and trauma: a community-based intervention with families of union workers missing after the 9/11 attack in New York City. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 29(4): 455-467, 2003