Questioning Misfortune: The Pragmatics of Uncertainty in Eastern Uganda / Edition 1

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Some of the most interesting new ethnographics of experience highlight the indeterminate nature of life. Questioning misfortune is very much within this tradition. Based on a long-term study of adversity and its social causes in Bunyole, eastern Uganda, it considers the way in which people deal with uncertainties of life, such as sickness, suffering, marital problems, failure, and death. Divination may identify causes of misfortune, ranging from ancestors and spirits to sorcerers. Sufferers and their families try out a variety of remedial measures, including pharmaceuticals, sorcery antidotes, and sacrifices. But remedies often fail, and doubt and uncertainty persist. Even the recent commercialization of biomedicine, and the peril of AIDS can be understood in terms of a pragmatics of uncertainty.
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Editorial Reviews

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"...a fascinating study of the Ugandan Nyole people's experience with adversity. The discussion of AIDS alone makes Whyte's study mandatory reading for anyone interested in health issues in Africa." Mark Howard, Medical Anthropology Quarterly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521595582
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2011
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Medical Anthropology Series , #4
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 274
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Introduction 1
1 An uncertain world
1 Misfortune and uncertainty 13
2 The pursuit of health and prosperity 34
3 Going to ask 60
2 'What you cannot see': the revelations of spirits
4 At home with the dead 87
5 The fertility of clanship 108
6 Little spirits and child survival 132
3 'You will know me': the opacity of humans
7 Speaking of morality 155
8 Substances and secrecy 178
4 The pragmatics of uncertainty
9 More questions 203
10 Consequences 224
Notes 233
References 242
Index 252
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