Readings & Audiovisual

2017
L’anthropologie engagée dans la lutte contre Ebola (2014-2016) : approches, contributions et nouvelles questions
Durant l’épidémie d’Ebola de 2014-2016, les anthropologues se sont engagés dans la riposte de trois manières : en tant qu’experts d’Ebola, médiateurs culturels entre populations et soignants, et chercheurs. L’article propose une esquisse de bilan de leurs approches et contributions, et discute les enjeux de cet engagement sur la base d’une revue de la littérature, d’études de cas et de débats lors de colloques. Les résultats de recherches en anthropologie présentés dans l’article concernent quatre thèmes : les contextes épidémiologiques de la transmission ; l’interprétation culturelle de la maladie et les réponses sociales ; la construction sociale de l’expérience des acteurs ; l’analyse critique des interventions de santé publique. Outre des contributions éclairantes en particulier sur les contextes sociopolitiques et leurs interfaces avec les mesures de santé publique globales, les anthropologues ont expérimenté des formes de communication de leurs résultats accessibles pour les acteurs de santé publique. Cependant, ces formes d’engagement hétérogènes soulèvent quelques questions, notamment lorsqu’elles reflètent des interprétations de l’anthropologie par ceux qui la sollicitent ou qui s’en revendiquent lui déniant toute portée critique ou réflexive, ou lorsqu’elles la confondent avec une intervention sociale. Néanmoins, les acquis de la recherche anthropologique sont importants, et pourraient l’être davantage si les réseaux transnationaux mis en place par les chercheurs pour analyser les dimensions sociopolitiques, économiques et bio-culturelles des épidémies émergentes pouvaient être pérennisés pour « préparer » la riposte à de futures crises sanitaires. [Afrique de l’Ouest; Ebola; Anthropologie; Épidémie; Sciences sociales]
© Institut Pasteur
2017
Gender dynamics and socio-cultural determinants of middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-Cov) in Saudi Arabia
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a severe viral respiratory illness that is caused by a new strain from the beta group of coronavirus (CoV). At both the global and national level (Saudi Arabia), men are at a greater risk of contracting the virus (68%) in comparison to women. This disparity presents an interesting question: What accounts for these observed sex differences in MERS infection rates? Using an analytic lens that considers the unique dynamics of socially constructed and specific gender roles, this review challenges the common assumption that biological differences in vulnerability (genetic disposition) are the primary drivers for the disparate male infection rates. Specifically, the author uses a gender-based analysis (GBA) to explore gender-based risk factors within Saudi Arabia that may contribute to this disparity. The findings of this review suggest that particular gendered risk factors including religious (Hajj) and cultural practices (shisha smoking), and social roles pertaining to livestock management (dromedary camels) may create different exposures to MERS-CoV. Ultimately, this research illustrates a significant gap in the current knowledge and understanding of how gender dynamics affect infectious diseases, especially concerning the issue of containment of and protection from MERS. [MERS, MERS-CoV, Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome, Gender-based Analysis]
2016
Vaccine rejecting parents’ engagement with expert systems that inform vaccination programs
In attempting to provide protection to individuals and communities, childhood immunization has benefits that far outweigh disease risks. However, some parents decide not to immunize their children with some or all vaccines for reasons including lack of trust in governments, health professionals, and vaccine manufacturers. This article employs a theoretical analysis of trust and distrust to explore how twenty-seven parents with a history of vaccine rejection in two Australian cities view the expert systems central to vaccination policy and practice. Our data show how perceptions of the profit motive generate distrust in the expert systems pertaining to vaccination. Our participants perceived that pharmaceutical companies had a pernicious influence over the systems driving vaccination: research, health professionals, and government. Accordingly, they saw vaccine recommendations in conflict with the interests of their child and “the system” underscored by malign intent, even if individual representatives of this system were not equally tainted. This perspective was common to parents who declined all vaccines and those who accepted some. We regard the differences between these parents—and indeed the differences between vaccine decliners and those whose Western medical epistemology informs reflexive trust—as arising from the internalization of countering views, which facilitates nuance.
© Institut Pasteur/Tamara Giles-Vernick
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