Abstract This paper analyzes interactions that took place during a set of workshops involving biomedical doctors and indigenous healers in northern Tanzania which promoted the use of indigenous knowledge in public health education and training. Such workshops are needed since, despite their success in treating patients for a number of health problems, healers are still misrepresented in the media and in wider society and are often confused with witchdoctors. In the context of inequality, then, the purpose of the workshops was to encourage the participants to learn from one another and to find ways to collaborate so that they could better treat patients in their area. The analysis assesses the efforts of the non-governmental organization that organized the workshops to create a culture of inclusion and equality among the doctors. The analysis shows how both parties are first legitimated through narratives of equality in the official discourse of the workshops. Subsequently, however, the healers are delegitimized in their interactions with the biomedical doctors through unequal forms of address and through the conflation of indigenous healing with witchcraft. The analysis shows how inequality in discursive practices is a key site for enduring struggles over symbolic power, even in contexts where equality is explicitly on the agenda.
Applied Linguistics Review – de Gruyter
Published: Nov 1, 2016