Shifting meanings of illness: An anthropological study of nodding syndrome in Tanzania

by K. van Weegen

Institution: Universiteit Utrecht
Year: 2015
Keywords: Anthropology Multiculturalism Illness Social constructionism Nodding Syndrome Tanzania
Record ID: 1261100
Full text PDF: http://dspace.library.uu.nl:8080/handle/1874/312054


Nodding syndrome, a so called new and mysterious illness, is affecting children in parts of South-Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania. During the past decade more and more attention went out to this unknown illness from international media and scientists. Despite the growing amount of literature on nodding syndrome, little is known about how nodding syndrome is affecting Tanzania. This anthropological study into nodding syndrome therefore focused on nodding syndrome in Tanzania, using a social constructionist approach. The construction of nodding syndrome in Tanzania is a complex process in which many different actors, discourses, and practices interact. This thesis shows how nodding syndrome in Tanzania is constructed through the friction that arises in the encounters between these different actors, discourses, and practices. Friction leads to continuous shifts in meaning of nodding syndrome in Tanzania, particularly visible in the encounters between actors constructing nodding syndrome internationally and the specific context of nodding syndrome in Tanzania.