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Salud colectiva

Print version ISSN 1669-2381On-line version ISSN 1851-8265


PALMA, Patricia  and  RAGAS, José. Unmasking impostors: Professional physicians and their struggle against fake doctors in Peru. Salud colect. [online]. 2019, vol.15, e2162. ISSN 1669-2381.

The characterization of non-professional healers as “quacks” or “impostors” has influenced much of how such actors have been perceived by public opinion and in academic research. As a result of this, a divide has emerged between professional physicians, on the one hand, and those who acquired their knowledge in a traditional and non-academic way, on the other. This work questions the alleged divide between these two groups in the health field in order to offer a more complex and richer picture of local practices in Peru. Based mainly on correspondence from the Faculty of Medicine in Lima and newspaper ads, we reconstructed the attempts made by medical authorities to contain and exclude healers of Asian, European, or local backgrounds, many of which failed. For this reason, we studied two specific devices designed to legitimate and monitor physicians trained professionally: degrees or diplomas and lists of graduates, both of which are predecessors to our current identification cards and databases.

Keywords : History of Medicine; Licensure, Medical; Medicine, Traditional; Social Identification; Peru.

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