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Challenging Our Understanding of Health: Indigenous Perspectives from the Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico


  • Proochista Ariana


In the context of development, considerable attention is paid to population health, usually interpreted according to mortality rates or burden of disease estimates. However, health is more complex than such physical indices can convey. This is particularly evident among many contemporary indigenous communities whose concepts of well-being extend well beyond conventional biomedical measures. Such misalignment of perspectives can have implications for how the health effects of development are determined. To gauge the relevance of alternative perspectives, indigenous notions of health among Highland communities in Chiapas, Mexico are examined. This paper begins with a historical account of health and healing rituals in the region, then describes current beliefs and practices among a set of Highland communities.

Suggested Citation

  • Proochista Ariana, 2012. "Challenging Our Understanding of Health: Indigenous Perspectives from the Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(3), pages 405-421, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:40:y:2012:i:3:p:405-421
    DOI: 10.1080/13600818.2012.713098

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rodolfo Stavenhagen, 2004. "Indigenous Peoples in Comparative Perspective – Problems and Policies," Human Development Occasional Papers (1992-2007) HDOCPA-2004-14, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
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