Healing and morality: A Javanese example

Mark R. Woodward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Javanese traditional medicine is based on Sufi Muslim notions of personhood, knowledge and magical power. This world view motivates two conflicting modalities of medical practice: one based on the magic powers of curers (dukun), the others on the religiously validated powers of Sufi saints. The association of magical and bio-medical knowledge allows Javanese to interpret traditional and bio-medical cures as components of a unified health care system. Comparison of Javanese medical, religious and political systems suggests that the structural uniformity of cultural domains derives from the hierarchical organization of cultural knowledge and that the study of traditional medicine and medical pluralism can not be undertaken apart from that of world view.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1007-1021
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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