Traditional healing practice and ethnic identity among Malay muslims in Southern Thailand / Madeleine A. Thurston = การรักษาโรคแบบดั้งเดิมและเอกลักษณ์ของชาวไทยมุสลิมเชื้อสายมาเลย์ในภาคใต้ของประเทศไทย / แมดเดอลีน อเล็กซิส เธอส์ตัน
This is a study of traditional healing practice and ethnic identity among the malay-speaking Thai Muslims in the Pattani area of Southern Thailand. Healing practice is described and located within both the broader historical and cultural development of the Malay Peninsula, and within a more detailed, contemporary, analysis of content. Data for this study was obtained both through archival research and thorugh participont-observation and in-depth interviews with a broad range of healers, loosely grouped under the terms spirit healers, bonesetters, and herbalists, all living within a 20-km radius of the city of Pattani. The study demonstrates that traditional healing practice is an adaptive process that reflects, acculturates and accommodates sociocultural change. The role of traditional healing practice is described through history with particaular reference to the colonial era and the current day situation. The contemporary content of healing practice is analysed using the author's observation of four major aspects of practice termed Ancestral Voices, Ancient Knowledge, Modern Means and Religious Guidance. These terms are used to demonstrate the co-existence of what are, at times, quite disparate facets of practice. As a result, healing practice is found to possess both lateral and plural tendencies that enable it to flexibly adapt to and absorb sociocultural change. In the process of accommodating both new influences and established practices, the healer is acting as a cultural conservative. Ethnic identity is presented within a neo-Marxist paradigm of ethnicity. Ethnicity is considered within the dialectic of asymmetrical power relations which in this instance illustrates the formation of the Thai nation-state. Ethnic identity is observed as 'oscillating' situationally, thus presenting a circumstantialist position. Thus the adaptability of the plural aspects of healing practice reflect the variable aspects that enable the oscillation of ethnic identity. In the role of cultural coltural conservative, the traditional healer of this ethnic minority group is promoting cultural preservation as a means to self preservation. Thus in the dynamic process of adaptive healling practice ethnic identity is promoted and sustained.