This chapter analyzes the relationship between indigenous and biomedical healing in South Africa. Although contemporary bio-political struggles over HIV/AIDS posit a ‘myth of incommensurability’ – an ideology that indigenous (read ‘traditional’) and biomedical (read ‘modern’) forms of healing are irreconcilably incompatible – people living with HIV/AIDS have embodied culturally hybrid identities by amalgamating different African cultures with cultural ideologies derived from international, national and local influences. This cultural hybridity is made possible by the historical conjuncture of events which marked the transition from apartheid to post-apartheid, and it allows the subjects of post-apartheid to circumnavigate the material strictures erected by both neoliberal economic restructuring and the pandemic itself. This chapter engages in a postcolonial re-reading of Pierre Bourdieu’s theories of field and habitus.
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