THE ADAPTATION OF 21ST CENTURY FOLK HEALERS OF TAI DAM ETHNIC GROUP IN NORTHERN THAILAND
This qualitative research aimed to study the adaptation of folk healers in health care of Tai Dam ethnic groups in northern Thailand. The study was conducted during January – December, 2018. The data were collected using structured in-depth interview, observation, and focus group discussion. Key informants were Mor Yuang, Mor Mod Mont, Mor Sean, community leaders, and people in Phitsanulok and Phichit provinces. The results found of this study Tai Dam ethnic groups this study had migrated from Phetchaburi province nearly 100 years ago and almost their social status are Phunoi. Basically, they believed and allied in ghosts by believing that ghosts influence the way of life from birth to death and the system of thinking about illness thus still maintaining the culture, traditions and rituals that are bound to the beliefs about ghosts that are still present. Changes in the social context occurred in the 21st century bring the adaptation of folk healers including the beliefs and the system of thinking about the illness have been changed with a more scientific thinking system and obviously discarded from ghosts. The folk healers assented to Buddhist principles and applied in their life. In addition, they accepted other Gods in various religions which believed in ghosts. The age of the folk healers who were able to ritual were more flexible. The role of the folk healers were changed, they were the culture capitals as the well-informed person, the healer, and the communicator among Tan, ghosts and human by using the traditional ritual of Tai Dam ethnic group. Nowadays, the role of a folk healers exist for the care of illness in the mental and social dimensions and they maintain their status as people who is perform the ritual for retaining cultures, traditions and the way to believe in ghosts.
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