Rod blong sik: Illness aetiologies, gender and medical Pluralism in the Western Pacific

Australian Research Council Discovery Project

Dr John Taylor

Belief in sorcery is widespread across the Western Pacific and poses complicated challenges for effective healthcare. Using Vanuatu as a central case study, this research systematically analyses the link between sorcery and healthcare, including healthcare seeking behavior. This includes by addressing the current lack of awareness in key development sectors of the social, health and governance implications of sorcery beliefs, as well as the way in which such belief systems are implicated in local healthcare deliver.

The study will provide evidence and a framework for integrating local belief contexts into international development practice. It will also develop innovative theoretical approaches to understanding sorcery beliefs and related practices in terms of transformations of modernity.

This project was funded by the Australian Research Council, 2013-2015, originally under the project title 'Sorcery and Human Security in Vanuatu: violence, health, governance, and the implications for effective development' ($173,000).

Publications

Taylor, J. (2015) 'Sorcery and the Moral Economy of Agency: an ethnographic account' in Anna-Karina Hermkens Rachel Morgain and John Taylor (eds), Oceania special issue, Gender and Person in Oceania 85(1): 38-50.

Taylor, J. and R. Morgain (2015) 'Transforming Relations of Gender, Person and Agency in the Western Pacific,' in Anna-Karina Hermkens Rachel Morgain and John Taylor (eds), Oceania special issue, Gender and Person in Oceania 85(1): 1-9.

Taylor, J. and N Araujo, n.d., 'Sorcery Talk, Gender Violence and the Law in Vanuatu,' in Aletta Biersak, Martha MacIntyre and Margaret Jolly (eds), Gender Violence and Human Rights in Oceania. (Forthcoming)

Taylor, J., 'Two Baskets Worn at Once: Christianity, Sorcery and Sacred Power in Vanuatu.' In Fiona Magowan and Carolyn Schwarz (eds), Conflicts and Convergences: Critical Perspectives on Christianity in Australia and the Pacific. Brill Publishers, Leiden. (Forthcoming)

Contact

For further information about this project, please contact:  

Dr John Talyor 
Department of Social Inquiry
La Trobe University 
T: +61 3 9479 6696
E: john.taylor@latrobe.edu.au