Illness and culture

cathy Livingstone catseye at
Thu Dec 17 00:35:25 PST 1998

I think it would be much more exciting to make the arguments about 'established illnesses' because then you would effectively challenge the status quo - the 'way of seeing' as John Berger would have it. However, what would be really interesting is to see how much 'systemic diseases' (CFS, MS, Fibromyalgia, and a host of others - I'm not sure if AIDS belongs or is a category unto its own) as a whole have increased, where they've increased and then perhaps environmental (as Liza's post argues), cultural issues can be clearly articulated. But I think this too has to be within the context of a general cultural/class/gender model of disease.

At 07:21 AM 12/16/98 -0500, you wrote:
>Actuall, this is one of the things I came up against yesterday thinking
>about illness and culture. I sat at my desk listing illnesses, trying to
>find something that wasn't cultural at some level. Cancers? Nope. linked
>to environment and diet. Diabetes/ Nope. related to diet (well sort of,
>in a world where people dont eat sugar, I don't think you'd see it much).
>Heart disease? Stress and diet. Heart attacks, ditto. Car accidents? Drug
>overdoses, AIDS, car accidents, domestic violence? Ditto ditto ditto. So
>on one level, the culture thing is irrelevant, but CFS, along with
>environmental illness and anorexia, becoming interesting because they are
>are so *contemporary*.
>I can't believe I'm awake this early...

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