Manufacturing Tibetan Medicine: The Creation of an Industry and the Moral Economy of Tibetanness

Manufacturing Tibetan Medicine: The Creation of an Industry and the Moral Economy of Tibetanness

by Martin Saxer


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780857457721
Publisher: Berghahn Books, Incorporated
Publication date: 04/01/2013
Series: Epistemologies of Healing , #12
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

Martin Saxer received a PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oxford and is currently a Marie Curie Fellow at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Since 2003, he has worked on the history and contemporary practice of Tibetan medicine in Russia (Buryatia) and Tibet. He is the director of the documentary film ‘ Journeys with Tibetan Medicine’ and runs the visual ethnography blog

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations



Notes on Transliteration and Transcription


Map of Tibet

Cast of Main Characters

Chapter 1. Introduction

  • Perspectives on Tibetan medicine
  • Aku  Jinpa
  • Official Views
  • The Topic of Inquiry
  • Industrial Modernities
  • Tibetanness and the Moral Space of Tradition
  • The Industry as Assemblage
  • Language and Terminology

Chapter 2. The Creation of an Industry

  • Sowa Rigpa and TCM – Different Trajectories
  • Interference and Non-Interference
  • The Making of TCM
  • Tentative Integration of Sowa Rigpa
  • Textbooks, Standardised Practice and Pharmacy
  • From Pharmacy to Factory
  • Reform and Revival
  • Socialist Market Economy
  • Founding Shongpalhachu
  • Tibetan Drug Standards and Chinese Pharmacopoeia
  • The Introduction of Good Manufacturing Practice
  • Ownership and Investment
  • Relations Between GMP Factories and Hospitals
  • The SFDA and National Drug Registration
  • The Size of the Industry
  • Forces at Work

Chapter 3. Manufacturing Good Practice

  • GMP in China
  • The Steps of Production
  • Sourcing and Storage of Raw Materials
  • Simple Pre-Processing: Washing, Trimming, Sorting
  • Complex Pre-Processing: Tsothal
  • Grinding, Mixing, and Making Pills
  • Sterilisation
  • Drying
  • Rationales, Practicalities
  • Validation
  • Self-Inspection

Chapter 4. Raw Materials, Refined

  • Domestic Sourcing Strategies
  • Long-term Relations to Village Collectors
  • Cultivation
  • Commercial Traders
  • Transnational Trade and Border Regimes
  • Import licences
  • Trader Tactics
  • Taxonomy and Legibility
  • Business Cultures
  • CITES and Nepalese Authorities
  • Baru
  • Gyatig
  • Back to Tibet
  • Tactics and Strategies

Chapter 5. Knowledge, Property

  • Owners and Pirates
  • The Problem of Patents
  • Precious Pills, Precious Properties
  • Filtering Knowledge
  • ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Knowledge
  • Randomised Controlled Trials
  • The Knowledge Commodity
  • Decoupling Forms of Knowledge
  • Property, Knowledge

Chapter 6. The Aesthetic Enterprise

  • Disenchantment, Enchantment
  • Mendrup
  • Rituals of GMP
  • Packaging Remedies
  • Design
  • Materiality
  • Advertisement
  • Three Campaigns
  • Visual Themes
  • The Buddhist Company
  • Yuthog
  • Spiritual Spa
  • Arura’s Museum
  • Enchanting Whom?

Chapter 7. The Moral Economy of Tibetanness

  • The Tibetanness Economy
  • Preservation and Development
  • Civilisation, Culture
  • Theme Parks: Manufacturing Minzu
  • Exhibiting Sowa Rigpa and a Farewell to GMP
  • Morality and Spectacles of Authenticity
  • Real and Fake
  • Profit and the Ethics of Being a Doctor
  • The Problem of Trust
  • Balancing Profit with Altruism
  • Morality at Large
  • Building a Harmonious Society, Resisting Culture
  • The Moral Economy at Large

Chapter 8. Conclusions

  • Fallacies
  • One – Industry and Modernism
  • Two – Globalisation and Sinicisation
  • Three –Knowledge
  • Assemblage, Revisited
  • Contemporary by Assemblage
  • Territorial by Assemblage



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