Anuario Colombiano de Historia Social y de la Cultura (2018-01-01)

Medical Offerings, Healers, and Public Opinion: El Niño Fidencio in Post-Revolutionary Mexico

  • Claudia Agostoni

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 45, no. 1
pp. 215 – 243


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The purpose of this article is to analyze the coexistence of folk and official practices and medical and healing offerings in Mexico during the first decade of the post-revolutionary period (1920-1930), through the study of the eclectic healer José Fidencio Síntora Constantino, better known as el Niño Fidencio (1898- 1938). The paper argues that the fluid coexistence of diverse practices, offerings, and conceptions of health, illness, and care processes contrasted with the goals of health institutions and authorized physicians at a time when the provision of health services through official offerings and care proposals was a key element for the process of national reconstruction. Likewise, the notable case of El Niño Fidencio sheds light on the tensions and multiplicity of medical offerings that characterized the processes of strengthening institutional medicine in Latin America during the first decades of the 20th century. It also illustrates how his eclectic healing and care offerings achieved notorious public presence through the mass media at a moment marked by the uncertainties of biomedical knowledge.