Call for Papers: Conference „Preparing for Patients. Learning the skills and values of healing encounters“ (29.06.–01.07.2018, Siegen)

The 31st Annual Conference of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Ethnomedizin e.V. (AGEM) in cooperation with the Collaborative Research Center Media of Cooperation, titled “Preparing for Patients. Learning the skills and values of healing encounters”, will take place from 29th June to 1st July 2018 at the University of Siegen. Proposal submissions are now accepted.

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 thehealingparty, thewholeencounterwouldbedispensable. Incontrasttobiomedical contexts, the encounter of non-biomedicalhealerswith their clients isoften conceived asbeinglesshierarchical. Yet, wewouldassumeasimilarfunctionaldifferencebetween 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.


The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2018.

For more information, check the full Call for Papers (PDF).