Skip to main content

Traditional Healing and Law in Contemporary Senegal: Legitimacies, Normativities and Practices

Cloatre, Emilie, Ndoye, Tidiane, Badji, Dioumel, Diedhiou, Adams (2023) Traditional Healing and Law in Contemporary Senegal: Legitimacies, Normativities and Practices. Social and Legal Studies, 32 (3). pp. 356-377. ISSN 0964-6639. (doi:10.1177/09646639221122434) (KAR id:97611)


In this paper, we chart the context in which contemporary legal debates around traditional healing in Senegal unfold, pointing in particular to the type of power–knowledge relations that are at stake in both the current legal status–quo, and legal changes proposed in 2017. We interrogate the struggles over legitimacy and recognition that are at play in these processes, and the ways in which different actors relate to both formal legal rules, and more fluid forms of legalities, in which imaginaries of the law, and negotiations with the law, translate into everyday practices. We underline how legal and scientific discourses are mobilised to draw the opportunities and boundaries offered to different healing agents, and to organise their respective authority. Traditional healers overlap with modern health practices, while retaining their own ontologies and claims to legitimacy while representatives of the biomedical professions insist that they should have some oversight over the regulation of all healers. As negotiations continue over the possibility for the state to regulate traditional healing, everyday legal choreographies define the relative roles, possibilities and precarity of different healing agents

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/09646639221122434
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Funders: Wellcome Trust (
Depositing User: Emilie Cloatre
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2022 10:22 UTC
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2023 14:13 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.