Keywords: Medicine Multiple; Preclinical Trial; Indigenous Medicine; South Africa; Ontology.
Anthropologists have been questioning the concept of "medical system" that underlies much work in medical anthropology since the 1980s. Following up on this concern, I propose a notion of "medicine multiple" which I found useful to address plurality in medicine without assuming necessary pre-existing enclosing systems, order or coherence, even in alluding to biomedicine or globalized health knowledge and notwithstanding its pre-eminence. First, I introduce some of the legacies of medical pluralism. Second, I contrast these proposals with a notion of medicine multiple which does not place the social or cultural as pre-existing, nor the mind as guiding bodily action. In this approach I follow a good number of insights from Ingold's lines and meshworks (2011). I also borrow from Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of perception (1945) as well as Mol's notion of body multiple and broader ontology of a multiple object (2002). In a third section, I define the lines I've found people and medicine to move through in the pre-clinical trial of an indigenous medicine as part of fieldwork done in both South Africa as well as in America. I show how a notion of medicine multiple has emerged from this study as well as how it might be applied more broadly.