© 2019 Nestor MANICHKIN

2019№2 (18)

Author info:

Nestor Aleksandrovich Manichkin, Candidate of Historical Sciences, is Research Fellow at the Center for Medical Anthropology, Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow).

Keywords: medical anthropology, medical systems, biomedicine, alternative medicine, psychiatry, gender, obstetrics, folk medicine, meditation, technization, recreational practices, longevity, embodiment

Abstract: Coexistence and interactions between various medical systems (biomedicine, traditional medicine, folk medicine, etc.) remains a major research object in medical anthropology. The main spheres of this scientific branch – addressing the ethnocultural background of the illness and healing experience as well as various social, political-economical factors of human health – all require the development of a classical toolset and mastering new methodological approaches. As discussions among the younger generation of scientists indicate, the course earlier charted by medical anthropology towards interdisciplinarity not only remains relevant and pragmatic efficiency but requires consistent and elaborated intensification.


Mikloukho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology (Russian Academy of Sciences) hosted the three-day Conference of Young Scholars “Relevant Problems of Ethnology and Anthropology”. Its section “Medical Pluralism and Problems of Health Preservation” took place on October 12. The section moderator was Nestor Manichkin, Cand. Sc., a Research Fellow at the Center for Medical Anthropology (IEA RAS). The discussion was led by Valentina Kharitonova, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Chief Research Fellow, and Director of IEA RAS Center for Medical Anthropology. The section was designed as a field for professional, academic and interdisciplinary dialogue, aimed at encompassing major spheres of medical anthropology: the problems of health and illness in cultural-social context, biomedicine in its connection with other medical systems, folk medicine and alternative medical (recreational) practices, the sphere of reproductive health, the sphere of psychic health, as well as political economy and discoursive health practices.

The following reports were given at the section:

  • “Competition among Independent Perinatal Specialists: Differences in Functions and Worldview” (T. L. Kuksa, a post-graduate student at IEA RAS);
  • “Secular Meditation Groups in Moscow” (I. I. Maslennikov, a post-graduate student at IEA RAS, Intern Researcher at the Center for Medical Anthropology, IEA RAS);
  • “Problem of Evidentiality of Healing and Recreational Effect of Some Musical Therapy Methods” (I. A. Mekkyusyarova, a post-graduate student at IEA RAS, Leading Research Fellow at the Museum of Music and Folklore of Yakutian Nations, Sakha Republic);
  • “Meditation Practices in Contemporary East and West (Based on Materials from Expeditions to Indonesia and Mongolia in 2018-2019” (L. S. Gerasimova, a post-graduate student at IEA RAS);
  • “Role of Gender-Role Identification in Intersyndromal Pathomorphosis of Paranoid Schizophrenia” (E. A. Shumakova, Psychiatrist Doctor at Gannushkin Psychiatric Clinical Hospital # 4);
  • “Despite the Obvious? Technological Visualization of Border between Life and Death in Intensive Care Unit” (A. P. Patrakova, a post-graduate student at Institute of Philosophy, RAS; Secretary at the Department for Philosophy and the Humanities, St. Filaret Orthodox Christian Institute);
  • “Culturally Conditioned Weakness during Usage of Electronic Gadgets among Dwellers of Ecovillages” (E. Yu. Korovina, a post-graduate student at IEA RAS);
  • “Constructing Preventive Target Groups in Russian Institutional Discourse on HIV Infection” (A. S. Dekina, a student at the Department for Cultural Anthropology and Ethical Sociology, Sociology Faculty, St. Petersburg State University);
  • “Phenomenon of Folk Medicine in Traditional Culture of Podvinie Belarusians: Past and Present” (D. S. Gritskevich, a post-graduate student at the Institute of History, Republic of Belarus National Academy of Sciences);
  • “Dolls and Age: Embodiment in Play” (S. Koldman, Candidate of Historical Sciences, independent researcher);
  • “Elements of Religious Coping in Recovery Process among Drug Addicts: Modern Practices” (K. G. Kuzmin, a post-graduate student at IEA RAS; Director of Center for Rehabilitation of Drug Addicts of Russian Orthodox Church’s Bryansk Eparchy);
  • “Traditional Knowledge and Transformation of Cuban Medical Policy at the Cusp of XX-XXI Centuries” (N. A. Manichkin, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Research Fellow at the Center for Medical Anthropology, IEA RAS).

The section’s proceedings proved the relevance of interdisciplinary approach and demand for a classical research toolset in medical anthropology. One can also point out the usage by young scholars of new methodologies and approaches. A problematic point in medical anthropology is still the issue of integrating various medical systems and recreational practices. The sphere of medical pluralism includes also religious and religious-philosophical phenomena (coping, meditation, etc.). The section’s participants emphasized the importance of finding responses to the challenges caused by modern processes that predefine trajectories of the illness experience, recreational practices and health preservation. Among these are the changing attitude to age and aging, emancipation in the body sphere, development of gender knowledge, technization of mundane life and medicine, political and economic reforms.


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Citation link:

Manichkin N. A. (2019). Medical Pluralism and Problems of Health Preservation: Opinions of Young Scholars [Medicinskij pljuralizm i zdorov’esberezhenie: mnenija molodyh uchenyh]. Medical Anthropology and Bioethics [Medicinskaja antropologija i biojetika]. 2 (18).