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The Age of ImmunologyConceiving A Future in an Alienating World$
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A. David Napier

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780226568126

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226568140.001.0001

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Anthropological Inoculations

Anthropological Inoculations

(p.19) 1 Anthropological Inoculations
The Age of Immunology
University of Chicago Press

This chapter deals with the theoretical problems of contemporary immunology that are socially constructed and personally understood. Polytheists are highly sensitized to immunological concepts. In Balinese ritual, the conceptual framework for immunity is already highly developed through negotiations with a diverse and diffuse range of pathogenic agents; immunity from demons more or less defines what ritual is all about. Ritual becomes the major vehicle for addressing social and individual diseases, and particularly in so-called polytheistic contexts, for recreating well-being in the presence of something pathogenic is largely accomplished by orchestrating powerful symbolic stimuli. Although attention to the “self” may be universal, the actual “localization” of self-interest may be only a major Enlightenment theme in which heroics are measured by the successful neutralization of difference.

Keywords:   Balinese ritual, immunological concepts, pathogenic agents, contemporary immunology

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