Date of publishing:



Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International. The Český lid provides open access to all of its content under license
Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International.


The text focuses on the theme of health care and amateur treatment in the extreme conditions of increased radiation after the explosion of the nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl power plant. It reconstructs the plight of the population from the accounts of residents living near the Chernobyl power plant, some of whom resettled in the Czech Republic, and analyses the relationship of the new state of affairs for folk healing. The text shows the logic of the adaptation mechanisms of the group of people to the new circumstances and their mobilization of the cognitive potential in the conditions in which professional aid and biomedicine, which they commonly used, failed. Besides the traditional practices of folk treatment, innovations based on scraps of information gathered from the mass media, reading, knowledge of a healthy lifestyle, the application of extreme medical cures devised by doctors through experimentation, assert themselves under extreme conditions. Other than the information on the application of specific methods and procedures, the text shows the process of how ‘human wisdom’ on health and disease is formed and adapts to a new, in this case extreme, situation. In an individualized, complex society, these ideas are distinctly private, flexible and situational.


medical anthropology;Ukraine;Chernobyl region;folk healing

Article Text


Abbott, Pamela – Wallace, Claire – Beck,
Matthias. 2006. Chernobyl: Living
with risk and uncertainty. Health,
Risk & Society 8, 2: 105–121.
Beck, Ulrich. 1987. The Anthropological
shock: Chernobyl and the contours
of a risk society. Berkeley Journal
of Sociology 32: 153–165.
Beranská, Veronika. 2013. Krajanská
lidová léčba a ritualizované praktiky
u Čechů z Ukrajiny a Kazachstánu
přesídlených do České republiky.
Národopisná revue 23, 4: 264–271.
Bodeker, Gerard – Kronenberg, Fredi.
2002. A Public Health Agenda for
Traditional, Complementary, and
Alternative Medicine. American Journal
of Public Health 92, 10: 1582–1591.
Brumfiel, Geoff. 2013. Fukushima: Fallout
of Fear. Nature. International Weekly
Journal of Science 493, 7432. [2015-11-28]
Retrieved from:
Bury, Michael. 1982. Chronic illness as
a biographical disruption. Sociology
of Health and Illness 4: 167–182.
Eisenberg, David M. – Davis, Roger B. –
Ettner, Susan L. et al. 1998. Trends in
alternative medicine use in the United
States, 1990–1997: results of a follow-up
national survey. JAMA 280: 1569–1575.
Folk Medicine and Traditional Healing. 2011.
National Center for Farmworker Health.
[2016-02-16] Retrieved from: http://www.
Hanitkevych, Yaroslav. 2005. The
History of Ukrainian Medicine.
Vesalius XI, 11: 104–106.
Jerofejev, Valerij. 2003. Unikátní metody
lidových léčitelů. Eko-konzult.
Keane, Anne. 1997. Too hard to swallow?
The palatability of healthy eating
advice. In: Caplan, Pat (ed.): Food,
Health and Identity. London and
New York: Routledge: 172–192.
Kindl, Josef. 2010. O nemocech,
stonání a léčení na Volyni. Sdružení
Čechů z Volyně a jejich přátel 3.
Klymasz, Andrea K. 1989. Ukrainian Folk
Medicine in Canada. Material Culture
Review/Revue de la culture matérielle,
vol. 29. [2015-09-24] Retrieved from:
100 Český lid 103 1 2016
Komarovová, Galina. 1997. Uralský
„Černobyl“ a problémy etnoekologické
adaptace. Český lid 84: 29–38.
Kononenko, Natalie. 2011.
Ukrainian Folklore in Kazakhstan.
Folklorica XVI: 163–183.
Kužel, Stanislav. 1997. Lidé v bývalé
druhé zóně. Český lid 84: 191–200.
Metivier, Henri. 2002.– Chernobyl:
Assessment of radiological and health
impact: 2002 Update of Chernobyl
10 years on. Paris: OECDNEA.
Mucz, Michael. 2012. Baba’s Kitchen
Medicines. Folk Remedies of Ukrainian
Settlers in Western Canada. The
University of Alberta Press.
Ong, Chi-Keong – Bodeker, Gerard C. 2002.
Use of complementary and alternative
medicine services in England. American
Journal of Public Health 92: 1653–1656.
Phillips, Sarah Drue. 2002. Half-Lives
and Healthy Bodies: Discourses
on ‘contaminated’ food and
healing in post-Chernobyl Ukraine.
Food & Foodways 10: 1–27.
Phillips, Sarah Drue. 2004. Waxing Like
the Moon: Women Folk Healers in Rural
Western Ukraine. Folklorica IX: 13–45.
Phillips, Sarah Drue. 2013. Fukushima
is not Chernobyl? Don’t be so sure.
Somatosphere, March 11. [2015-01-21]
Retrieved from: http://somatosphere.
Petryna, Adriana. 2002. Life Exposed:
Biological Citizens after Chernobyl.
Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Petryna, Adriana. 2004. The science
and politics of Chernobyl-exposed
populations. In: Good, Byron J. (ed.) et al.
2010: A Reader in medical anthropology.
Theoretical trajectories, emergent realities.
USA: Wiley-Blackwell: 199–212.
Polák, Josef. 1943. Mze (stírat mze).
Naše řeč 27, 3. Ústav pro jazyk český
Akademie věd ČR, v. v. i. [2015-08-13]
Retrieved from: http://nase-rec.
Rinkevicius, Leonardas. 2000. Public
risk perceptions in a ‘double risk’
society: The case of the Ignaline
Nuclear Power Plant Lithuania.
Innovation: The European Journal of
Social Science Research 13: 279–289.
Scott, Diana. 1996. Healing in the
Shadow of Chernobyl. Albion Monitor,
May 5. [2016-01-11] Retrieved from:
Shokeid, Moshe. 1992. Commitment
and Contextual Study. Cultural
Anthropology 7, 4: 464–477.
Stickley, Andrew – Koyanagi, Ai –
Richardson, Erica – Roberts, Bayard –
Balabanova, Dina – McKee, Martin. 2013.
Prevalence and factors associated with
the use of alternative (folk) medicine
practitioners in 8 countries of the
former Soviet Union. Biomedcentral
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
13: 83. [2016-01-20]
Retrieved from: http://www.
Strathern, Marilyn. 2004. Partial Connection.
Oxford: Altamira Press. 2. Edition.
Uherek, Zdeněk et al. 2003. Češi
z Kazachstánu a jejich přesídlení
do České republiky. Praha:
Etnologický ústav AV ČR, v. v. i.
Uherek, Zdeněk. 2009. Immigrants from
the Ukraine in the Czech Republic:
Foreigners in the Border Zone. In: Kürti,
Laszlo – Skalník, Petr (eds.): Postsocialist
Europe: Anthropological Perspective from
Home. New York: Berghahn: 270–294.
Uherek, Zdeněk – Beranská, Veronika.
2015. Pavlivka Iodine Spring Water:
Transnational Entrepreneurship
in Post-Transition Contexts. In:
Červinková, Hana – Buchowski, Michał –
Uherek, Zdeněk (eds.): Rethinking
Ethnography in Central Europe. New
York: Palgrave Macmillan: 75–88.
Valášková, Naďa – Uherek, Zdeněk –
Brouček, Stanislav. 1997. Aliens or One’s
Own People: Czech Immigrants from the
Ukraine in the Czech Republic. Praha:
Institute of Ethnology of the Academy
of Sciences of the Czech Republic.
The Defensive Strategies of Czech and Ukrainian Residents in the Ukraine 101
Wallace, Claire – Stola, Dariusz. 2001.
Patterns of Migration in Central Europe.
Houndmills, New York: Palgrave.
[WHO] Traditional Medicine: Definitions.
World Health Organization. [2016-01-12]
Retrieved from: http://www.