Serious Illness and Supernatural Agents: Explanatory Models for Diseases which Defy Explanation
Serious illness which threatens mortality, does not respond to treatment, and has no obvious cause, ellicits sensations of fear, bafflement, and helplessness in those who are affected. Through ethnographic case studies, it will be shown that these patterns cross cultural boundaries. At the same time, it will be demonstrated that the explanatory models for such illnesses exist within unique cultural settings. An understanding of the effects of such illnesses on human emotion, combined with a clear view of cultural context, is essential for any examination of these explanatory models.
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