Legitimizing Spiritual Healing in Korean Shamanism


Liora Sarfati (Tel Aviv University)

In South Korea, shamanic healing has persisted in the contemporary urban sphere. People still seek shamans for chronic illness, mental issues, or terminal conditions that modern medicine cannot solve. Based on ethnographic research in Seoul, “Legitimizing Spiritual Healing in Korean Shamanism” examines how healers and their clients negotiate between two contradictory paradigms of illness and health: scientific and institutionalized medicine, and shamanic healing focusing on the supernatural roots of the inflictions. The public image of contemporary spiritual healing reveals that tensions around it relate mostly to institutional concerns rather than to the religious-supernatural aspects of the treatment.

Part of 24-03 Searching for Healing in South Korea: In Loving Memory of Roger L. Janelli, Tuesday, October 19, 2:15 pm–3:45 pm