Ebola, Emerging: The Limitations of Culturalist Discourses in Epidemiology

Jared Jones
In this paper, I offer a critique of the culturalist epidemiology that dominates the discourse of Ebola in both popular and international health spheres. Ebola has been exoticized, associated with “traditional” practices, local customs, and cultural “beliefs” and insinuated to be the result of African ignorance and backwardness. Indeed, reified culture is reconfigured into a “risk-factor.” Accounts of the disease paint African culture as an obstacle to prevention and epidemic control efforts, at times even...
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