Body and emotion: the aesthetics of illness and healing in the Nepal Himalayas
Body and Emotion is a study of the relationship between culture and emotional distress, an examination of the cultural forces that influence, make sense of, and heal severe pain and malaise. In order to investigate this relationship, Robert R. Desjarlais served as an apprentice healer among the Yolmo Sherpa, a Tibetan Buddhist people who reside in the Helambu region of northcentral Nepal. In his quest to understand illness among Yolmo villagers, especially a prevalent malady known as "soul loss," Desjarlais goes beyond an exploration of causes and cures to analyze the "aesthetics" of everyday living and their relation to bodily experience, emotional distress, and ritual healing. In contrast to other recent accounts of "symbolic healing," which posit that shamanic rites heal by manipulating the symbolic categories that define a patient, the author contends that a shaman's rites work chiefly to change how a patient feels. A concern for the sensory influences the style of the book, as Desjarlais bids for an ethnography of the tactile, the visceral, the unspoken. Body and Emotion calls for a more sentient anthropology, moves beyond meaning-centered approaches to pain and the body, and outlines the profound role of aesthetic sensibilities in everyday life. Body and Emotion is an extraordinary work that will be of particular value to students and scholars in the fields of anthropology, psychology, Asian studies, and religious studies.
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aesthetic altar anger asked attend Bateson bodily body's bombo Bourdieu Buddhist causes ceremony chants Clarke corporate couplet cremation cultural death deities distress divination divinatory dreams drum embodied emotional ethnographic everyday exorcism feel felt funeral Geertz ghosts gods grief Gulphubanyang Gurung harm harmony healer heart heartache heartmind Helambu household illness imagery images inner instance Karma Kathmandu Khyung Kleinman knowledge Lamaist lamas land Latu Latu's life-forces lives Lopsang lost malaise meaning Meme Meme's rites Mingma moon Nepal notions Nyima one's Padma's Pasang patient pattern performed person political presence relations ritual rudiments of form sdug sems sense sensory sentience shamanic healing Sherpa social songs of pain sorrow soul loss soul-calling spirit spiritlessness srog suffering suggests symbolic Tamang temple tensions Tenzin Tibet Tibetan tion trance tshe tsher understand values visceral vitality woman women words Yeshi's Yolmo bodies Yolmo experience Yolmo sensibilities Yolmo shamans Yolmo society Yolmo villagers