Humanitarianism from Below: Sowa Rigpa, the Traditional Pharmaceutical Industry, and Global Health

Stephan KLOOS

Medical Anthropology (Taylor & Francis)

In this article I explore, for the first time, the relationship between Sowa Rigpa (Tibetan medicine) and global health, tracing “the global” in ethical discourses and pharmaceutical innovation practices of Tibetan medical practitioners. I argue that Sowa Rigpa’s engagement with the world and its global health activities outside China can be understood as a form of “humanitarianism from below,” while its industrialization in China aligns with global health in different ways. In providing new insights into recent developments of Sowa Rigpa, I aim to decenter the notion of humanitarianism and contribute to a broader understanding of global health.

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