Accepted paper:

Is a socio-anthropology of "recovery", "remission" or "cure" possible?

Author:

Judith Hermann-Mesfen (UMR 912 SESSTIM)

Paper short abstract:

Medical anthropology has rarely systematically investigated the way patients become “normal” again, regain their health. I would like to show that process from illness (/sickness) to the end of it, deserve to be described precisely and analyse. And they finally can become an object of social science

Paper long abstract:

Social sciences of health have rarely systematically investigated the way patients become "normal" people again and regain their health. I would like to show that the process from illness (/sickness) to the end of it ; also called being cured, going into remission, or recovery ; deserved to be described precisely and analysed so they finally can become a object of social science.

Researchers in social sciences observe this process/event for a large range of pathologies, in several contexts on Northern areas. For instance, in Europe, sociologists studying cancer face different conceptions of the end of the disease (remission, recovery, etc) that mostly depend on culture. It appears that different approaches are used and lead to various conceptualisations.

Those studies and results will be compared (and confronted) to my anthropological data obtained in a Southern country, Ethiopia. I analyzed how people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) submit themselves to the ritual of holy water in order to cure miraculously from AIDS.

Those diverse examples illustrate how complex, varied and embedded in society and culture are process leading a sick/ill person to become a "normal" one.

This event and its multiple definitions (which depend on the kind of disease/illness) might be considered at three levels : individual, cultural group and medical institutions. Could be interrogate when and how : (1) persons/subjects consider themselves as release and return to "normal" life ; (2) cultural and social groups consider those ; (3) health care systems establish, conceptualize and eventually name this process.

panel P072
Anthropology of cure and recovery: collaboration and chronicity