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Lecture 15

ANTHROP 1AA3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 15: Dalit, Social Stigma, LeprosyPremium

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Karen Mc Garry

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ANTHROP 1AA3 - Lecture #15 - Disease, Death and Culture
Cross Cultural Case Study - Leprosy
Not a prevalent disease in North America (uncommon, and we have antibiotics to cure it)
About 250 000 people a year get leprosy in developing nations, in addition to those
already living with it
Spread by person-to-person contact, however most people are immune to it
Experienced as an illness differently in different contexts
Leprosy in India
oSocial Outcast (the Dalit [lowest] caste)
oRejected by community
oInfluenced/reinforced by India's embedded caste system
oSocial stigmas associated with it- can't run for office, can't reproduce, etc.
Leprosy in Sri Lanka
oInitial rejection by community and peers
oSelf-imposed social isolation
Leprosy in Nigeria
oBelieved that it was largely self-inflicted (by being gluttonous, swearing falsely by
the Koran or washing in water a leprosy patient has used)
oSocial stigma of having leprosy is not as severe, i.e. can still live in your
Leprosy in the USA
oVery few cases
oAlso called Hansen's Disease
oHasn't had the same social stigma
oAfter lepers seek treatment, they will often work to educate others about the
Main points
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