Week 2 Post

The readings this week draw an almost linear connection between the epidemics of aids to the epidemic of Ebola and the social movements involved in both. All three articles examine and unravel the underlying issues of why diseases such as these become such an epidemic. A common theme throughout is the role of an Anthropologist and the idea that just the death rate, or the rapid spread of a disease should not be the only concerning attribute. At many times the approach the world takes to the help mend this crisis is culturally insensitive and all three articles do a good job at helping the reader understand why. Burchardt especially emphasizes that effect social literature has and is continuing to be very heavily rooted in Western media, experience and academia. Many times the social movements and religion within Africa are completely ignored because the country lacks the legitimacy due to being a third world country.

The article ‘Ten things that Anthropologists’ can do to fight the West Africa Ebola Epidemic I found to be particularly interesting because of what the author is trying to articulate. After reading all the ways Anthropologists are able to address epidemics such as Ebola it seemed to be providing a solution to mend the gap between the local and global. I think this article does both of what it was intended to – empower anthropologists to continue their involvement in the Ebola epidemic especially and alerting organizations such as WHO that they bring great knowledge and ethnographic experience to the table. Especially when explaining the instead of “blaming the system” anthropologists are able to make sense of the local through ethnographic research. At times during both aids and the Ebola outbreak they were the only actors physically involved in talking to the local and understanding their social movements. In the article ‘The Politics and Anti-Politics of Social Movements: Religion and HIV/AIDS in Africa’ the author expresses that because of the local understanding of the religion and power structures of Africa, their own movements are lost in translation. On the other hand, it makes sense that even though the religion and a local level is important can Anthropologists really make a distract difference. The conversation between the WHO representatives may almost be warranted. Everyone always seems to have a better way to fix something and the two articles explaining the ways Anthropologists can fix things seems a bit pretentious. Africa already relies heavily on foreign aid and since the Ebola breakout the aid and support system has increased I can’t seem to believe that the interstation of Anthropologists is going to make a drastic change.

When it comes to the idea of religion within Africa and the movements such as Neo-Pentecostal and how these things have had such a positive effect on the Aids outbreak I wonder if there is any type of way Anthropologists could coincide with the local social movements? Also if Anthropologists have such great experience and knowledge with outbreaks such as these, why are there not more active organizations?


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