|Published in||Ecologia Austral, v. Vol. 27 (1-bis):94-198|
Arellano, R. S. B., Nahuelhual, L..
This research explores how wellbeing is built through social practices related to the use of products of natural medicine (PNM) in local communities of southern Chile. Research inquiry involved the reconstruction of life-history of relevant local stakeholders, particularly through in-depth interviews (life-history method). The analysis relies on the social action theory, human scale development theory and the ecosystem services approach. Results indicate that, in this territory, wellbeing is socially constructed through everyday practices within the family unit, in a private atmosphere (e.g., the transmission of knowledge between parents and sons/daughters when they recollect, recognize and use medical herbs). Wellbeing is also built on another level, through social practices that are more public, such as the recollection and processing of medicine-plants carried out by the Intercultural Medicine Program. The social action theory allowed to observe social practices from everyday life, the ecosystem services approach helped to observe and understand natural resources, strictly related to local satisfaction strategies, becoming this way a theoretical anchor to understand well-being from the humane scale development perspective. In this sense, the main satisfactors identified were: the Inter-cultural Health Program, the Inter-Cultural Board, the cultural agents and the family unit. The Inter-Cultural Health Program is synergistically related to several needs, while the Inter-Cultural Board (discussion opportunity) is exclusively related to understanding and participation needs. Finally, the cultural agents and the family unit are related to the needs of affection, idleness and freedom, among others.