Richard NOLL : Shamanism and Schizophrenia : A State-Specific Approach to the « Schizophrenia Metaphor » of Shamanic States

PUblished in American Ethnologist August 1983, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 443-459 Posted online on October 22, 2004. (doi:10.1525/ae.1983.10.3.02a00030)

Shamanism and schizophrenia are examined as altered states of consciousness. A state-specific approach to the phenomenology of these altered states is employed to demonstrate that the existence in the anthropological literature of the « schizophrenia metaphor » of shamanism and its altered states is untenable. A current psychiatric diagnostic manual is utilized to show that significant phenomenological differences exist between the shamanic and schizophrenic states of consciousness.

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