Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed 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. This panel seeks to explore the many ways consciousness can affect agency in informal non-clinical settings of healing. How can positive transformations of consciousness lead to emotional healing through journeys of reclaiming agency?
This session is the first 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 outside of formal clinical settings. Panelists interrogate the relationships between habitus, participation, intentionality, and agency. Wright and Yeager describe Facebook mourning practices as a grief resilience strategy for emotional healing and regaining agency lost in cases of complicated grief. el-Aswad examines the relationship between agency and rituals among traditional medicine practitioners in the Middle East. Ramirez examines how Latina women mobilize language of recovery to transform the phenomenological conditions under which they exist. Flynn’s paper aims to address eating disorders and/or body hatred in a ‘de-medicalized’ light, examining them as a reflection of a perceived lack of agency as well as a ritualistic transformation of consciousness. el-Aswad argues that “’participation’ creates a sense of agency” similarly Wright and Yeager argue that a denial of full participation based on social status diminishes agency. Examining biomedical conditions in non-clinical settings, Ramirez and Flynn examine the efficacy of de-medicalizing addiction and eating disorders and giving consideration to alternate pathways for healing through reclaiming agency. Wright and Yeager, and Flynn ask questions of intentionality self-discipline and agency in ritual practices which increase the vulnerability of participants.