Spirits Captured in Stone: Shamanism and Traditional Medicine among the Taman of Borneo

By Jay H. Bernstein | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Preface

Fieldwork is culturally subversive. It temporarily detaches one from one's own way of thinking and doing, yet it never entirely connects to an alternate one. It fosters one's imagination about both. The better one empathizes, the better one does ethnography, yet full absorption and empathy within another world would inhibit social insight. For these reasons, one could argue that anthropology ... is a tragic discipline in that it goes far to isolate and alienate its practitioners from full conviction in their own mode of thinking and doing.

T. O. Beidelman (1993, p. 214)

As a graduate student wanting to master the literature on Southeast Asian ethnography and hoping someday to make an original contribution to anthropology, I came across two books written in the 1950s by W. R. Geddes on the Land Dayak people (now known as Bidayuh), who inhabit an area in western Borneo including parts of both Sarawak (Malaysia) and West Kalimantan (Indonesia). I was intrigued by these books and eventually resolved that I would undertake a full-scale ethnographic study of the Bidayuh, concentrating on questions of medical knowledge and rationality and using the perspectives of cognitive anthropology, the sociology of knowledge, and the situational analysis of case histories. Shamanism was mentioned only in passing in my proposal, and I fully expected to concentrate on folk medicines made from natural materials. I make no apology that this book, finished many years later, takes a different outlook from the one I originally proposed. All experienced anthropologists know that anything they write in their proposals turns out, one way or another, to be unworkable, uninteresting, or wrong by the time they get to the field. Furthermore, anthropology itself has moved ahead since 1983. Although much of this is a matter of styling, fads, and new words for old ideas, there is more to it than that. Theoretical approaches concerning many issues such as gender, material culture, performance, medical aesthetics, medical discourse, and embodiment have matured greatly in this time, and I have tried to relate my find

-ix-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Spirits Captured in Stone: Shamanism and Traditional Medicine among the Taman of Borneo
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 209

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?