The only time I had ever heard of a “clown doctor” was in the film Patch Adams where Robin Williams uses humor and laughter to help his patients. It seemed like just a silly movie, but it really does make sense that it could work. The hospital can be a dreary place, and having something as ridiculous as clowns there can probably help more than a few people crack a smile, especially children. But even myself, a 21 year old man, would probably laugh if I saw a clown walking around just from the shock value. As mentioned in the article, the clowns are more of “shamans” than actual doctors. They do not practice scholarly medical work on patients, but instead help them in another way, emotionally.
The article is comparing the hospital clowns to actual shamans. The ethnomedical approach that these clowns use make them almost shamans as they do not use actual medicine to cure, but instead “traditional medicine” such as laughter. The settings these clowns work in are a typical western medical hospital with all the normal doctors and everything + clowns! The clowns are there to entertain in any ways they can, to patients by keeping their mind off their current hardship, or even nervous parents in the waiting rooms. I would say the clowns are lower-middle class as these are still clowns, so I can’t believe they would make too much bank, but their job is a bit more serious than a typical birthday party clown. Because of this they probably do not have much prestige as their job isn’t much of a career choice and more of a filler job it seems. They use whatever clown resources they have, be it puppets, ventriloquism, or anything else that clowns can think up! They may not make much money or have much prestige, but the clowns seem to be an intricate part of these hospitals and seem to be doing more good than they could ever potentially do harm.