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Suggestions of power: searching for efficacy in Indonesia’s hypnosis boom

Long, Nicholas J. ORCID: 0000-0002-4088-1661 (2018) Suggestions of power: searching for efficacy in Indonesia’s hypnosis boom. Ethos, 46 (1). 70 - 94. ISSN 0091-2131

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Identification Number: 10.1111/etho.12190


From relative obscurity in the 1990s, hypnotherapy has become a major industry in contemporary Indonesia. This article examines its tremendous surge in popularity, and the subsequent trajectories of its vernacularization. It shows the hypnosis boom to have been underpinned by the introduction of a distinctive ‘thirty percent theory, seventy percent practice’ seminar format, structured in such a way as to allow mass-market consumers to experience themselves as hypnotically efficacious. With such efficacy proving unsustainable outside the seminar context, Indonesians reached for and developed alternative conceptions of ‘hypnosis’ that allowed them to continue as effective hypnotherapists. Such material demonstrates the value of incorporating a theory of interactional affordances into anthropological models of cultural transmission and globalization.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 American Anthropological Association
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2017 09:00
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 00:40
Projects: RES-000-22-4632
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council

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