chapter  7
23 Pages

Overview and Observations

Rethinking the Traditional-Modern Dichotomy Most cultural studies on malaria centre on the status of knowledge about the disease in the community and treatment practices associated with this knowledge. The comparison between malaria as it is locally understood and malaria as it is bio-medically defi ned permits the identifi cation of vernacular terms which correspond most closely to malaria, of lacunae in knowledge about the disease, and ‘folk illnesses’ whose symptomatology largely corresponds to severe manifestations of malaria. A ‘folk illness’ refers to an illness entity, i.e., a locally recognized illness with its own cause, symptoms, and treatment which does not correspond to biomedical nosology (Rubel 1984; Helman, 1990).