Anthropological Inoculations

in The Age of Immunology

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780226568126
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226568140 | DOI:
Anthropological Inoculations

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This chapter deals with the theoretical problems of contemporary immunology that are socially constructed and personally understood. Polytheists are highly sensitized to immunological concepts. In Balinese ritual, the conceptual framework for immunity is already highly developed through negotiations with a diverse and diffuse range of pathogenic agents; immunity from demons more or less defines what ritual is all about. Ritual becomes the major vehicle for addressing social and individual diseases, and particularly in so-called polytheistic contexts, for recreating well-being in the presence of something pathogenic is largely accomplished by orchestrating powerful symbolic stimuli. Although attention to the “self” may be universal, the actual “localization” of self-interest may be only a major Enlightenment theme in which heroics are measured by the successful neutralization of difference.

Keywords: Balinese ritual; immunological concepts; pathogenic agents; contemporary immunology

Chapter.  8687 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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