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The article aims at legal and illegal activities of Lusaka´s traditional healers within the system of traditional medicine which is primarily anchored in the constitution of traditional healers´ associations. It primarily focuses on witch-finders, whose social status, professional position and authority is constantly negotiated within the formal and informal sector of traditional medicine. Since the late 1990s, the quest for services of traditional healers specialised in witch-finding has gained popularity, particularly amongst the impoverished Lusaka compound-dwellers. Due to the increasing public violence against those denoted as witches, the activities of witch-finders were officially banned by the Witchcraft Act in 1995 and this profession is not officially recognised by the Constitution of Traditional Health Practitioners Association of Zambia (THAPAZ). In spite of the prohibition, there remain many witch-finders in Lusaka who practise witch-finding secretly, in order not to commit an offence they do not openly denounce the name of an alleged witch. Their authority and credibility is threatened by many “official” as well as “unofficial” competitors in the city and it must be constantly reaffirmed and negotiated by introducing innovations. The ability to keep clients and to gain a good reputation thus depends on the originality of their diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. At the same time witch-finders must counter diverse obstacles and uncertainties resulting from their illegal status within the sector of traditional medicine. The author analyses tactics that Lusaka´s witch-finders have developed and employed to negotiate their social status, credibility and authority visà-vis the competition from the “official” traditional healers.
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What keeps cultural studies in motion and, more difficult still, what hold them together? They are continuously animated through so-called ‚turns‘ that in regular intervals open up new perspectives and transform the leading issues and concepts. Such regular innovations are not only due to internal readjustments in terms of methodological changes but are also connected to cultural and social changes. In this way, cultural studies have become an integral part of the transformation of the world as we see and construct it. They are not only a lense through which we observe the transformation of the world, but also a tool with which it is produced. In this active engagement and entanglement with the real world, cultural studies have lost a sense of their professional boundaries. They are constantly extending their realm of research, incorporating avidly new territory. To the extent that cultural studies have embraced the project of cultural self-thematization and self-transformation, they have become as fluid and volatile as culture itself.
Aljas, Agnes. 2015. Motivations for participating in museums’ interventions. - Media Transformations 11, edited by Auksė Balcytiene, Peter Gross and Aušra Vinciuniene. Kaunas: Vytautas Magnus University, 84−105.
Aljas, Agnes. 2017. Participation in the museum: diverse audiences and their motivations at the Estonian National Museum. - Museums and Innovation, edited by Zvjezdana Antos, Annette B. Fromm and Viv Golding. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 147−162.
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