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Governing traditional medicine in Kenya: Problematization and the role of the constitution

Harrington, John ORCID: 2018. Governing traditional medicine in Kenya: Problematization and the role of the constitution. African Studies 77 (2) , pp. 223-239. 10.1080/00020184.2018.1452856

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After decades of repression and neglect, traditional medicine in Kenya has become the object of increasing official attention in recent years. Initiatives have been proposed by a range of state bodies and civil society groups to regulate practice and to protect the traditional knowledge on which it is based. These are informed by the work of international bodies with which agencies and groups are closely connected. This paper draws on governmentality theory in mapping these developments accounting specifically for international and national influences on the current wave of reform. It argues that initiatives are cast in normative, epistemic and rhetorical terms as responses to problems faced by the Kenyan state. Governance technologies deployed or proposed are oriented to the ‘problematization’ of traditional medicine in terms of health and safety, threats to sovereignty and national development. Kenya’s 2010 constitution provide a crucial normative anchor for each of these problematizations. Its specific provisions allow international imperatives to be re-articulated in terms of the national interest.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff Law & Politics
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0002-0184
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 December 2017
Date of Acceptance: 9 December 2017
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 03:43

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