Dr David Dupuis
I hold a PhD in Ethnology - Social Anthropology (EHESS-Paris, 2016, under the supervision of Dr Philippe Descola) and I am affiliated to the Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Sociale (Collège de France, Paris).
My doctoral research has been based on eighteen months of fieldwork in Takiwasi, a therapeutic community located in the Upper Peruvian Amazon. The therapeutical team includes medical doctors, psychologists and traditional healers using some mestizo shamanism practices. The treatment is based on the ritual use of medicinal plants – including the hallucinogenic brew ayahuasca – psychotherapy and speech groups. The use of plants is done in a ritual context mixing elements of Amazonian shamanism, Catholicism and the New Age. My doctoral dissertation has been focused on ritual innovations, modes of transmission of religious knowledge and the topic of therapeutic effectiveness in Takiwasi.
I am now a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Anthropology of the University of Durham, funded by the Fyssen Foundation. In collaboration with Hearing the Voice team, I am working on the experience of auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH), occuring in amazonian shamanism contexts, especially during the ayahuasca rituals and retreat times in the jungle. I aim, in a second step, to advance this work in order to elaborate a cross cultural and comparative model of the arousal, socialization and control of AVH in various social contexts. My goal is to shed light on how cultural repertoires affect the nature and intensity of AVH, illustrating how culture affects our mental experiences. I am consequently planning to conduct further ethnographic fieldworks in order to collect new data with a view to better understand what I call the socialization of AVH.