Reference: Dupuis, David. Une ethnographie de la clinique Takiwasi. Soigner la toxicomanie avec l’aide des non-humains. Master thesis in Social Anthropology. École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, 2009.


This thesis is on ayahuasca use and representation in the context of Takiwasi, Center for the Treatment of Drug Addiction (Peruvian Amazon). Takiwasi’s therapeutic model is characterized by a combination of psychological therapy and conventional medicine, with the traditional medicine of the Amazon, including ritual use of purgative and psychoactive plants. This work is mainly an ethnographic study of the Takiwasi clinic, describing the etiology of drug addiction, the therapeutic model and the healing practices characterizing Takiwasi, especially the ritual use of ayahuasca. I looked at the motives, history and experience of patients, including Westerners, who participate in ayahuasca ceremonies, and the ways in which they conceptualize and integrate their experiences into their existing worldview. I focused especially on the representation of the vegetal and the emergence of intersubjective, pedagogical and therapeutic relationships between human and plants.

Biography of the author:

David Dupuis was born in Normandy, France, in 1984. He has an M.A in Philosophy from Paris Ouest University, an M.A in International Affairs from Sciences Po, Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris,  and an M.A in Social and Cultural Anthropology from Ecole de Hautes Etudes Sciences Sociales (E.H.E.S.S.), Paris. He is currently a Ph.D candidate in Anthropology at E.H.E.S.S and affiliated with the Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale at Collège de France, Paris. He is conducting research under the supervision of Philippe Descola on the therapeutic use of ayahuasca in Takiwasi Center for the Treatment of Drug Addiction in the Peruvian Amazon. He is particularly interested in the domains of transcultural therapies, drug addiction treatment, therapeutic use of ayahuasca, contemporary hybridizations in Peruvian vegetalismo, human-plant relationships and relational conception of rituality.

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