Sorcery, Christianity and the Decline of Medical Services

AUTHOR(S)
John Cox
Georgina Phillips
Culture

In Papua New Guinea (PNG), witchcraft and sorcery accusations appear to be proliferating and, in many cases, leading to horrific violence, torture and murder of those thought to be sorcerers (Chandler 2013). Our contribution to the debates about sorcery-related violence is to see it as the result of poverty and failing services. Following the medical anthropologist and infectious diseases physician Paul Farmer, we reject interpretations of sorcery accusations and violence as grounded in the ancient traditional culture of Melanesia. Instead, we see the resurgence of sorcery as an effect of poverty and social inequality, particularly the neglect of medical services and training (Farmer 1999).

Research Type(s)
Book
Submitted by Toksave
March 21, 2021
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