Hijacking intellectual property rights. Identities and social power in the Indian Himalayas

Abstract : This chapter examines the encounter between Tibetan medicine and biomedicine, and the way biomedical power is locally domesticated. It is about bio-pirates, imaginary pharmaceutical industries and the (at times virtual) theft of medical knowledge in India. In this country, a series of measures bearing on the utilization, protection and preservation of phytogenetic resources and related knowledge have been established, such as intellectual property rights. This national movement has repercussions throughout the land, including Ladakh, a region of the north-west Himalayas. However, although the local protagonists agree to follow the national policy, they redefine its meaning and purposes to serve their interests on the levels of their community and of national society. This chapter is concerned with questions of social, ethnic and medical identities, which are expressed through ‘hijacking' a relatively new subject in the field of medicine in Ladakh: intellectual property rights. The amchi hold off the force of external and dominant powers – medicine, state, religion – over their own world. They endeavour in these contexts to consolidate their community and/or individual power, to affirm their ethnicity and their medical identity.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00516496
Contributor : Laurent Pordié <>
Submitted on : Thursday, September 9, 2010 - 6:08:00 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - 1:07:22 AM

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Laurent Pordié. Hijacking intellectual property rights. Identities and social power in the Indian Himalayas. Tibetan Medicine in the Contemporary World. Global Politics of Medical Knowledge and Practice, London & New York: Routledge, pp.132-159, 2008, Series of the Needham Research Institute. ⟨halshs-00516496⟩

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