Review on the book of Z. Grzywacz “Traditional Kazakh medicine in change” (summary)

© 2011 E.O. Propisnova

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Key words: traditional Kazakh medicine, baqsi, healing, islam

Abstract: In the reviewed book “Traditional Kazakh medicine in change” the author reviews and analyzes roots, traditions and the current state of traditional Kazakh medicine. The author is young Polish researcher Zusanna Grzywacz, who ran a 7 months field study in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

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The book “Traditional Kazakh medicine in change” is the research on the background, traditions and the present state of traditional Kazakh medicine. The work resulted from the thorough study of available literature relevant to the subject of the research as well as from the 7-month field work conducted by the author – young Polish researcher Zuzanna Grzywacz – in Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan.

The goal of the research was to analyze the origins of the traditional Kazakh medicine, its importance for the Kazakh people and the changes, which this medicine has undergone evolving to its present shape; and the modern form, in which the traditional Kazakh medicine persists.

On the whole the author clearly highlighted two tendencies. One of them is a kind of simplification of the traditional medical practices, forgetting of the rites’ initial sense by the new generations, erosion of notions connected to the traditional medicine, spiritual healing and, in particular, to the tradition of the early shamanism – baqsiliq. And the opposite tendency is illustrated by the invigoration of interest towards traditions in general and the traditional medicine in particular, which is stimulated by the media and by the authorities of the independent Kazakhstan, and by the integration of new methods and tools to the traditional medicine.

Concerned articles resulted from prolonged investigations passed from 1997 in Africa, Asia and Latin America, united around the idea of research in the anthropology of early childhood.

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