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Bodies and DisEase

Bodies and DisEase

Finding AlterNative Cure, Assuming AlterNative Identity

(p.159) 6 Bodies and DisEase
African Diasporic Women's Narratives
Simone A. James Alexander
University Press of Florida

Operating from the theoretical standpoint that bodily experiences are socio-somatic and therefore closely tied to one's social or socio-economic position in society, this chapter details how women's experiences of their bodies and illness carry traits of denationalization. In other words, the unhealthy body is constructed within the framework of difference and deviance, and therefore is not in line with the nation's definition of citizenship. Whiteness and able-bodiedness are therefore the transcendental norm. Abhorred and unwelcome, the sick female body occupies a peripheral position beyond the nation-state that renders it stateless, and therefore lawless. Consequently, the characters resort to alternative cure administered by midwives and female healers. This “migration” from Western medicine in favor of homeopathic remedies not only accentuates medicine's limits, but it also challenges pervasive western medical authority. The chapter draws heavily on Paul Farmer's theorization of disease as a means to reveal the disparities in immigrant and/or black communities.

Keywords:   Able-bodiedness, Denationalization, Lawless, Disease, Alternative medicine

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