Type de Publication Article
    Titre Better than Viagra®. The Gouro tooth stick, a 100% natural product : ethnopharmacology in time of the World Wide Web
    Auteurs Haxaire C.
    Revue Curare, Journal of Medical Anthropology and Transcultural Psychiatry
    Résumé "Better than Viagra®. The Gouro (Guro) tooth stick, a 100% natural product." This advertisement on the Internet recalls a zouglou song of the 1980s that criticised a venal schoolmaster bribed by the famous tooth stick, given by the little boy Zamble. To analyse this advertisement we must cross ethnopharmacology, anthropology of pharmaceuticals, and anthropology of cyberspace. — From the viewpoint of an anthropology of the Guro remedy, these claims are to be examined on three levels. First of all, the focus on a single plant, Turraea heterophylla, even the most effective one (but from which point of view?) does not cover the full range of remedies known to the ethnopharmacology of this region ("the" Guro tooth stick). Secondly, restricting the use of these remedies to their capacity to provoke erection and "combat sexual fatigue" ("Better than Viagra®") raises some questions. For the Guro there are two categories of plants, those "that give men force" and those that "help resist intimidation". Viagra® is evoked, classically to propose a "natural" alternative. The purported efficacy of the plant is reinforced by the "scientific" image of medicine in the sense of pharmaceutical product, but this reference frames and limits the indications for the tooth stick. Lastly, attributing particularly highly developed "amorous" (in local French parlance) qualities to the Guro at large raises another issue, when "amorous" qualities signifies sexual performance, as is the case here. The Guro themselves, for whom eroticism and courtly love are complementary, make a clear distinction between the two. The importance granted to women must also be situated in its context of the social organisation and matrimonial rules of Guro society. New information technology thus acts as an echo chamber for the clichés that circulate in Ivory Coast, crediting the Guro people with special accomplishments in the domain of amorous performance. They are said to have tooth sticks, that they use just like their neighbours, endowed with an indubitable aphrodisiac power. In any event viewers were intrigued and eagerly sought confirmation that these roots are effective. We have explored their comments on forums (found by searching via Google). In these forums Westerners and young Africans in cities or abroad divert these uses for entertainment purposes. Delocalisation as defined by GIDDENS (1996), that is the extraction of these practices from the local context of interaction, took place in two steps: first displacement from the original rural Guro setting that we have described to a multicultural urban youth setting, and then in the commercial perspective of the advertisement into the cyber world where African youth of the diaspora reinvent the practices. During these transfers the practices are subject to a series of mutations, not least the double inversion induced by assimilation to the industrial pharmaceutical Viagra®.
    Pages 36-50
    Volume 34
    Numéro 1-2
    Mots clés Forum | Aphrodisiaque | Ethnopharmacologie | Efficacité | Internet | Afrique Occidentale | Côte-d'Ivoire | Guro | Globalisation | Anthropologie
    Année 2011
    ISBN 0344-8622