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Between Ordinary Pain and Extraordinary Knowledge: The Seer Vanga in the Everyday Life of Bulgarians during Socialism (1960s-1970s)

Between Ordinary Pain and Extraordinary Knowledge: The Seer Vanga in the Everyday Life of... This article focuses on a li le-known aspect of everyday life in socialist Bulgaria: the act of consulting a clairvoyant for health issues, thereby dealing with the broader process of medicalisation of healing. It is grounded on files from consultations with the renowned Bulgarian seer, prophetess and healer baba Vanga, which were collected between 1966 and 1974. These highly specific historical sources allow me to analyse late twentieth-century ideas and notions of health and disease, of pain and suffering, and thus to access social realities, cultural practices and representations of healing under socialism. By scrutinising the categories used in these records, the article delineates the relationship between the seer-healer, her patients, and the state institutions involved in the regulation of this process. KEYWORDS: Balkans, Bulgaria, folk healer, Macedonia, medicalisation of healing, modernity, religion, seer, state socialism Introduction One of the country `valuables' right now is Vanga Dimitrova, the blind seer of Bulgaria. She is famous in her part of the world and crowds of people seek her help. Vanga finds missing people, helps solve crimes, diagnoses disease, and reads the past. But her greatest gi is prophecy.1 This article explores a li le-known aspect of everyday life in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Aspasia Berghahn Books

Between Ordinary Pain and Extraordinary Knowledge: The Seer Vanga in the Everyday Life of Bulgarians during Socialism (1960s-1970s)

Aspasia , Volume 3 (1) – Mar 1, 2009

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Publisher
Berghahn Books
Copyright
© 2022 Berghahn Books
ISSN
1933-2882
eISSN
1933-2890
DOI
10.3167/asp.2009.030106
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article focuses on a li le-known aspect of everyday life in socialist Bulgaria: the act of consulting a clairvoyant for health issues, thereby dealing with the broader process of medicalisation of healing. It is grounded on files from consultations with the renowned Bulgarian seer, prophetess and healer baba Vanga, which were collected between 1966 and 1974. These highly specific historical sources allow me to analyse late twentieth-century ideas and notions of health and disease, of pain and suffering, and thus to access social realities, cultural practices and representations of healing under socialism. By scrutinising the categories used in these records, the article delineates the relationship between the seer-healer, her patients, and the state institutions involved in the regulation of this process. KEYWORDS: Balkans, Bulgaria, folk healer, Macedonia, medicalisation of healing, modernity, religion, seer, state socialism Introduction One of the country `valuables' right now is Vanga Dimitrova, the blind seer of Bulgaria. She is famous in her part of the world and crowds of people seek her help. Vanga finds missing people, helps solve crimes, diagnoses disease, and reads the past. But her greatest gi is prophecy.1 This article explores a li le-known aspect of everyday life in

Journal

AspasiaBerghahn Books

Published: Mar 1, 2009

Keywords: Balkans; Bulgaria; folk healer; Macedonia; medicalisation of healing; modernity; religion; seer; state socialism

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