The role of performance in enhancing the effectiveness of crystal and spiritual healing
McClean, S. (2013) The role of performance in enhancing the effectiveness of crystal and spiritual healing. Medical Anthropology, 31 (1). pp. 61-74. ISSN 0145-9740
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01459740.2012.692741
In the arena of biomedical sciences, technical skills and expert judgement are at a premium, and the standardization and repeatability of an intervention is crucial to help determine, for example, the effectiveness of a new drug in a clinical trial. Crystal and spiritual healers are less rule-bound, and their playfulness with the systematized conventions and rituals of healing practice is more evident. In this article, based on in-depth ethnographic research, I highlight some of these themes in the context of contemporary crystal and spiritual healing practice at a center in northeast England. I show that the standardized models of measuring effectiveness is less appropriate in many healing contexts, partly due to the unrepeatability and limited standardization of each healing performance, but also due to the performative ‘being-in-the-moment-ness’ and intuitive sensibility that frames what healers count as evidence.
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