Comparison of social resistance to Ebola response in Sierra Leone and Guinea suggests explanations lie in political configurations not culture

Wilkinson, Annie and Fairhead, James (2016) Comparison of social resistance to Ebola response in Sierra Leone and Guinea suggests explanations lie in political configurations not culture. Critical Public Health, 27 (1). pp. 14-27. ISSN 0958-1596

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Abstract

Sierra Leone and Guinea share broadly similar cultural worlds, straddling the societies of the Upper Guinea Coast with Islamic West Africa. There was, however, a notable difference in their reactions to the Ebola epidemic. As the epidemic spread in Guinea, acts of violent or everyday resistance to outbreak control measures repeatedly followed, undermining public health attempts to contain the crisis. In Sierra Leone, defiant resistance was rarer. Instead of looking to ‘culture’ to explain patterns of social resistance (as was common in the media and in the discourse of responding public health authorities) a comparison between Sierra Leone and Guinea suggests that explanations lie in divergent political practice and lived experiences of the state. In particular, the structures of authority in which the government-sanctioned epidemic response was channeled relate very differently to communities of trust in each country. Predicting and addressing social responses to epidemic control measures should assess such political-trust configurations when planning interventions.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2016 15:13
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2017 02:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/65098

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