Health Care Analysis

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 31–49 | Cite as

Intercultural Health Practices: Towards an Equal Recognition Between Indigenous Medicine and Biomedicine? A Case Study from Chile

  • Maria Costanza TorriEmail author
Original Article


Over the past few years, intercultural health has become an emerging issue in health policy. Intercultural health is an approach in health that aims at reducing the gap between indigenous and western health systems, on the basis of mutual respect and equal recognition of these knowledge systems. This article questions the applicability of such a concept in the context of Chile. Here, conflicting interests between the Mapuche and the Chilean state are related to aspects of economic development, modernity processes, integration, intercultural relations, and indigenous rights and are deeply reflected also in projects for an intercultural health system. By analysing the experience of the intercultural practice of Makewe Hospital, this article argues that effective and equitable intercultural health practices will not take place unless there will be an integral valorisation of the Mapuche culture from a broader perspective.


Western medicine Indigenous medicine Intercultural health practices 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social SciencesUniversity of Toronto ScarboroughTorontoCanada

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