In an Aja community of southwest Benin, multiple domains of medical knowledge and practice interlock and compete for control of illness meaning and sensory experience. Global health initiatives (vaccination and education programs), national health care structures, and Aja medico-religious practice each incorporate and manipulate the knowledge and practice of the other in order to create legitimacy and shape therapeutic trajectories. Biomedical nosology and disease prevention efforts conflict with local understandings of individual and community health concerning diseases that affect the skin. Local Aja physiological and pathological understandings of infection and disease progression lead sufferers to seek treatment in various medical domains—behavior seen as inconsistent and contradictory by global and national biomedical personnel. Efforts at the sensibilisation of the community regarding vaccinations and other global health initiatives is met in turn with local medico-religious knowledge emphasizing a sensual experience of illness and healing for individual and community. “Sensibilisation” is a French public health term, meaning “raising awareness”, but often assumes belief and behavior will change, often through coercion if necessary. More than just an effort to coerce the community into accepting public health initiatives, Aja experiences of suffering and healing are made illegitimate. An anthropology of the senses may be employed to provide a critical analysis of the nuances of medical knowledge and sensory experience, the manipulation of opposing knowledge to create legitimacy and influence behavior, and how the Aja sense, use, and negotiate contradictions across domains of medical knowledge.
|Advisers||Caroline Brettell; Carolyn Sargent|
|School||SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY|
|Subjects||African studies; Cultural anthropology; Public health|
About ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
With nearly 4 million records, the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) Global database is the most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses in the world. It is the database of record for graduate research.
PQDT Global combines content from a range of the world's premier universities - from the Ivy League to the Russell Group. Of the nearly 4 million graduate works included in the database, ProQuest offers more than 2.5 million in full text formats. Of those, over 1.7 million are available in PDF format. More than 90,000 dissertations and theses are added to the database each year.
If you have questions, please feel free to visit the ProQuest Web site - http://www.proquest.com - or call ProQuest Hotline Customer Support at 1-800-521-3042.