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Editorial notices


journal for qualitative research

ISSN 1211-5770
Registration code MK ČR: E 8364
Published by the civil association Casopis Biograf
Krompach 26, 47157
ICO: 27003213
Two issues per year.
Editor-in-chief: Barbora Spalová (

Text detail

Biograf 2016/63

In search for a certainty: Beyond ayurveda as an alternative medicine

Alžběta Wolfová

In search for a certainty: Beyond ayurveda as an alternative medicine

Based on an ethnographic field-work within one Ayurvedic community in the Czech Republic I look at the function of Ayurveda for the people who have been practicing it. Building largely on participant observation in two education centres I am mostly interested in how students (and lecturers) employ Ayurveda in relation to their everyday experience. Following social sciences studies on the topics of Ayurveda, I do not primarily approach Ayurveda as a medical or spiritual system that serves as an alternative to biomedicine or as a cure for the contemporary detraditionalised society. Instead I attempt to analyse mechanisms of its practice and answer the question how does it exactly work at individual level of lived experience. Considering the fact that there are many people who have not observed any change in their health condition since they got in touch with Ayurveda and at the same time they are even not so much entangled with the community and still have remained its fans, I ask what other kind of function Ayurveda has for these people. Concentrating on description and interpretation of specific ways of employment Ayurveda by its students I attempt to understand better its success in a given environment. Following actors` interpretation of their experiences I argue, that Ayurveda has mobilized specific ways by people to enrich higher individual stability. To reach this point they foremost enact Ayurvedic epistemology. In the paper I look at the ways of employment of this epistemology, concentrating on the (re)constitution of certainties in the daily life of actors. Nevertheless, I analyse what kind of uncertainties are produced during this processes as well. In my analysis I introduce Ayurvedic practice as an example of tactic through witch people deal with uncertainty while concentrating on the role of the individual responsibility within process.


Ayurveda, uncertainty, epistemology, responsibility, understanding.

Biograf themes:

Body and embodiment; Religiosity, spirituality, religious communities; Self and identity; Anthropology and ethnography


WOLFOVÁ, A. (2016): Hledání jistoty: a hranicí ájurvédy jako alternativní medicíny [In search for a certainty: Beyond ayurveda as an alternative medicine]. Biograf, (63-64): 49 paragraphs. Available at [last access18. 04. 2019]


Tento článek vzniknul v rámci projektu Specifického vysokoškolského výzkumu 2015-260238. Ráda bych poděkovala kolegům a přátelům, se kterými jsem měla možnost tento text v průběhu jeho vzniku diskutovat, konkrétně: Hedvice Novotné, Markétě Zandlové, Barboře Spalové, Tereze Stöckelové, Veronice Seidlové, Karlu Čadovi, Marii Černé a Yasaru Abu Ghosovi.

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