Socio-Economic Dimensions of Tibetan Medicine in the Tibet Autonomous Region, China Part One

In: Asian Medicine
Theresia Hofer
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This article investigates some of the socio-economic dimensions of contemporary Tibetan healing practices in the rural areas of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in China. It sheds light on the workings and the effects the commodification of the official Chinese health care system, which started in the late 1990s, have had on Tibetan medicine and how these are related to the concurrent re-introduction of the Co-operative Medical Services (CMS) scheme throughout rural China. The contribution to this journal is divided into two parts. Part One predominantly deals with the medical practitioners and the practices within governmental health care in the TAR. Part Two, which will be printed in the next issue of the journal, deals with the private sector of Tibetan medicine. Both parts focus on the situation in the Tsang or Shigatse region of the western and central TAR, hence enabling there to be useful comparisons with medical practices in the capital Lhasa, most of the anthropological literature has focused on so far. Both contributions are based on extensive anthropological fieldwork in Lhasa and the Tsang region of Tibet.

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