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Tempo Social

versão impressa ISSN 0103-2070versão On-line ISSN 1809-4554


ROCHA, Cristina. The globalization of the spiritist cure: biomedicine, João de Deus and his Australian followers. Tempo soc. [online]. 2015, vol.27, n.1, pp.95-115. ISSN 1809-4554.

João de Deus is a spiritist curer medium who has become widely known outside of Brazil. The Casa de Dom Inácio, his curing centre in Abadiânia, close to Brasilia, receives thousands of foreign visitors from around the world, while the medium himself travels constantly to Europe and the United States to participate in curing events organized by foreign followers. This article is based on ethnographic research conducted in Brazil, Australia and New Zealand and on interviews with Australians in Sydney. Two narratives of illness among Australians are analysed, along with their reasons for seeking out João de Deus. The article concludes that the concept of the cure in alternative and New Age medicine produces a disposition for the "traditional" cure of exotic lands. In other words, the attraction of foreigners to João de Deus's curing system derives from their own habitus, influenced by a New Age worldview. Furthermore, the article indicates that the establishment of the connection between cure and religion, the construction of a context that gives meaning to illness and empowerment through renunciation to a greater force are three important factors that make people reject western medicine in favour of alternative therapies.

Palavras-chave : João de Deus; Spiritism; Biomedicine; Alternative therapies; Australia.

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