Logo

7512 - To See What Cannot Be Seen: equivocations of vision among Pewenche and healthcare professionals in southern Chile

This paper explores the central role of visibility and invisibility in the tense relationship between state health professionals and indigenous Pewenche people in southern Chile. While non-indigenous intercultural health workers are concerned with making visible “traditional” Pewenche healing practices, Pewenche people are concerned with making visible the malignant spirits who cause illness. Yet by definition, both Pewenche healing practices and malignant spirits are hidden, occult, or obscured. Thus both health workers and Pewenche face the paradox of trying to make the invisible visible. Political conflict emerges from an equivocation rooted in the refusal of each party to engage in the reality of the other’s “invisible.” The paper thus casts light upon the incommensurability of theories of visibility and invisibility at the heart of Pewenche engagement with the “modernity” manifest in the multicultural ideology of Chilean state healthcare.

Keywords: visibility, modernity, Pewenche, health, Chile

Author: Bonelli, Cristobal (University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom/Ver Königr)

Back

University of Vienna | Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43 1 4277 17575