• AGEM-Jahrestagung – “Ästhetiken des Heilens – Aesthetics of Healing” in Münster
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    „Ästhetiken des Heilens: Arbeit mit den Sinnen im therapeutischen Kontext“
    32. Fachtagung der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Ethnologie und Medizin (AGEM) in Kooperation mit dem Institut für Ethnologie der WWU Münster 24.-26.05.2019 in Münster (NRW) /Deutschland

    “Aesthetics of Healing: Working with the Senses in Therapeutic Contexts”
    32nd Annual Conference of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Ethnologie und Medizin e.V. (AGEM) in Cooperation with the Institute of Ethnology of the University of Münster
    May 24-26, 2019 in Münster (Westfalen) / Germany

    Abstract submission deadline: January 31, 2019



    Call for Papers deutsch
    Call for Papers englisch


    Cora Bender (U Siegen), Helmar Kurz (U Münster), Ehler Voss (U Siegen)

    Helmar Kurz:


  • Conference – “Preparing for Physicians. The ambivalences of empowerment” in Siegen
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    Die AGEM organisiert zusammen mit dem Sonderforschungsbereich Medien der Kooperation an der Universität Siegen die Tagung “Preparing for Physicians.The ambivalences of empowerment”. Die Tagung findet vom 24.-26. Juni 2019 an der Universität Siegen statt. Ein Call for Papers folgt in Kürze.




    Ehler Voss:


  • AGEM-Jahrestagung – “Preparing for Patients. Learning the skills and values of healing encounters” in Siegen
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    31st Annual Conference of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Ethnomedizin e.V. (AGEM) in Cooperation with the Collaborative Research Center Media of Cooperation at the University of Siegen

    How physicians and other healers conduct their encounters with clients is an  integral element of becoming healers. Nevertheless, this knowledge is only partly provided by official channels or courses; rather, it is often learned in a subtle and implicit  manner  during  practical   apprenticeship.   Despite   broad   investigations of the professional encounters between healers and  their  clients,  few  studies  have  addressed  the  question  how  exactly  these  skills  and  attitudes are  learned. A main criticism of the patient-physician relationship in biomedical contexts has  long been its asymmetry (Pilnick und Dingwall 2011), and empirical studies have time and again reasserted fundamental disparities between those seeking and those providing health services (Begenau et al. 2010). At the same time, these asymmetries are constitutive of the healing encounter, because they form a functional difference between healer and client: without the attribution of special  knowledge and skills to the healing party, the whole encounter would be dispensable. In contrast to biomedical contexts, the encounter of non-biomedical healers with their clients is often conceived as being less hierarchical. Yet, we would assume a similar functional difference between them. We assume that how these asymmetries and differences are managed and performed in daily practice is largely learned in the formative years of apprenticeship.
    Since the seminal studies “The Student Physician” (Merton et al. 1957) and “Boys in White” (Becker et al. 1961), there has been little in-depth research on how students of healing practices acquire such skills and how they are transmitted in learning contexts. These studies have shown how  novice  physicians  learn  to  cope  with  the contingencies of daily work and how they learn to balance responsibility and experience. Through fine-grained ethnographic fieldwork, the researchers were able to show how such skills and attitudes are learned in the processes of becoming a competent member, by observing and imitating role models and by being sensitive to the norms and values displayed by significant others. In line with Becker et al., we assume that most of these skills are part of the tacit learning in the “hidden curriculum” (Hafferty and Franks 1994). The hidden curriculum refers to those aspects of learning contexts that do not figure prominently in official accounts, but are learned as part of becoming a member of a healing profession. Despite (or because of) their informal character, they serve as powerful orientations that slowly become taken for granted, in many cases without explicit recognition by those who teach and learn them. In the course of the conference, we want to shed light on how apprentices of healing professions are preparing and are being prepared for their encounters with patients or clients. Irrespective of the given healing cosmology, all healing knowledge is ordered in specific systems, organized in rules, schemes, and procedures that need to be adapted to the individual healing encounter. Therefore, every healing encounter is laced with fundamental uncertainties – not only with respect to treatment but also to interaction (cf. Fox 1980; Henry 2006). And all healing apprentices learn how to cope with these contingencies. The subtle transmission of a “paternalistic” model of physician-patient interaction in biomedical education might account for the long-standing asymmetry that are part of the official program of medical education, despite longstanding calls for “shared decision making” and “informed consent” (Stollberg 2008) . Consequently, “professional dominance” (Freidson 1970) is a skill that needs to be learned before it can be practiced.
    Thus, we want to compare and take a closer look at the subtle modes of how students of different healing  practices  –  biomedical  as  a  well  as  all  other  healing traditions – are prepared and how they prepare themselves for their encounters  with  patients.  We  want  to  ask  questions  along  the  following   lines:
    •Which attitudes are transmitted for coping with the tension between standard procedures and individual  cases?
    •Which roles do authority, performances of authority, competence, empathy, uncertainty, responsibility, and experience play?
    •What modes of teaching and learning the “hidden curriculum” can be observed?
    Conference Language: English

    CME points for physicians and psychotherapists can be obtained.



    Book of Abstracts
    Call for Papers


    Cornelius Schubert

    Ehler Voss

  • Workshop – “Skill and Scale in Transnational Mediumship” in Cologne
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    „Skill and Scale in Transnational Mediumship“ – Workshop collaboratively organized by AGEM, CRC Media of Cooperation (Siegen), a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities (Cologne), and the Global South Studies Center (Cologne)

    Over the last decades, scholars have discussed the “Return of the Religious” as to deeply question the narratives of modernity and its disenchantment worldwide (de Vries and Weber 2001). Scholars engaged in an intense debate about the quality and substance of religion, and its mediation in new technical media, and discussed its various forms of transnationalization and diversification in the context of globalization processes (cf. Csordas, 2009; Behrend and Zillinger 2015).

    “Skill and Scale in Transnational Mediumship II” sets out to discuss new communities of practice and enskilment that evolve around techniques of mediumship in an interconnected world. The increased mobility of people and organizations, things, signs and symbols that take part in or reformulate trance practices and spiritual experiences has significantly widened the scope and outreach of adepts of trance, spirit possession and spiritual body arts. The various body techniques, symbols and artifacts play a major role in the re-organization of spirituality on site and contribute to the emergence of transnational spirited publics across time and space. This workshop, and the volume we intend to produce, therefore explores how the “local” and the “global” of religious and spiritual practice is co-produced. We invite all participants to zoom in on how these practices are taught and learned, transformed and re-invented in different settings and to reflect upon „apprenticeship“ as a process of enskilment (Ingold). While enskilment continuous to takes place in context of co-participation, it is increasingly transformed through technologization, standardization and interaction at a distance: co-participation does not necessarily entail co-presence. “Skill” denotes the “know how” of mediumship, the ability to discern, invoke and elaborate mediumistic experiences, while “scale” reminds us of both, (1) the scale, in which mediumistic practices take place and invoke transcendental powers, the Maßstab in German – in which signs, things, and person are drawn together in a ritual setting and, (2) the scale, by which the practitioners reach out to new audiences, clients and cooperation partners – or refuse to do so by delimiting their practices to a certain group of practitioners and their intimate publics. Both aspects are a matter of controversies among academics and practitioners alike and we are looking forward to discuss this along the ethnographic case-studies.


    Marcello Múscari (São Paulo/Köln)
    Ehler Voss (Siegen)
    Martin Zillinger (Köln/Siegen)


    Universität zu Köln
    a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities Cologne

    OG | Raum 3. A06
    Aachener Str. 217
    50931 Köln


    Workshop poster

Ausgewählte andere Tagungen

Hier werden wir in Kürze wieder wie gewohnt ausgewählte Tagungen aus dem interdisziplinären Arbeitsfeld Ethnologie & Medizin präsentieren. Dazu suchen wir noch freiwillge Helfer*innen. Bitte melden unter