Irene Sanson

Doctor of Philosophy, (Social Anthropology)
Study Completed: 2012
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Taking the spirits seriously: Neo-shamanism and contemporary shamanic healing in New Zealand

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Ms Sanson investigated modern Western shamans (also known as neo-Shamans). She argues that they are synthesising and creating multiple 21st century forms of neo-Shamanisms, and that neo-Shamans in New Zealand are part of this emerging (re)construction process that has occurred over the last forty years. Her research situates neo-Shamans in relation to other alternative religious movements in New Zealand, and explores the similarities and differences between the practices of other neo- and indigenous shamans within a global context. The discussion sits within a larger health and healing discourse about the relationships between neo-Shamanism, complementary and alternative medicine and biomedicine; in particular, it examines the practices of contemporary Maori healers in a global context, and their relationships with neo-Shamans in New Zealand.

Professor Kathryn Rountree
Dr Graeme MacRae