Oral Presentation Session - Invited Status Awarded
Invited by: Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: Health
Secondary Theme: Resilience
Resistance, Resilience, and Adaptation are agents of conscious and unconscious transformation. Defined by Sherry Ortner agency as the ability to change culture and behavior, agency is a facet of conscious experience, vital to health outcomes and ritual efficacy. Dramatic changes in a person’s experience of their own agency are frequently noted in the cross-cultural record in association with ritualistic transformations of consciousness. Many ritualistic transformations of consciousness aim to increase, regain, or relinquish agency to promote healing. Similarly, agency is a central question in many medical settings; the ability to exercise agency is contested by medical practitioners, patients, and caregivers. Illness, trauma or emotional distress can trigger a shift in consciousness and agency in profound ways. This panel seeks to explore the many ways that consciousness can affect agency within formal medical settings, and how positive transformations of consciousness can lead to emotional healing through a journey of reclaiming of agency.
This session is the second of a two-part series of panels on Consciousness and Agency. This session examines transformations of consciousness, agency, and emotional healing in rituals that take place in clinical settings through their interactions with healthcare organizations. Panelists interrogate the relationships between habitus, participation, intentionality, and agency. Wallerstedt demonstrates how divergent histories and economic development between Tuscany and the rest of Italy influence women’s agency in childbirth. Hunt presents case studies to consider how clinicians and patients from the United States reconstruct a sense of agency, as they strategize to access profit driven care. Chen examines how emergency medical technicians can fulfill a cultural role through the lens of consciousness, agency, and practice. Goluboff and Landrum investigate the ways in which acudetox (Ear Acupuncture following the National Acupuncture Detoxification Program protocol) promotes the development of personal agency and healing among individuals who struggle with substance abuse disorders in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Goluboff and Landrum, Hunt, and Wallerstedt explore the implications of the clinic as a ritual setting for healing and personal transformation. Wallerstedt, Chen, and Hunt address impact of cultural, class, and professional habitus on healthcare practice and individual agency. The panelists each address the significance of agency for health outcomes and ritual efficacy in clinical settings.