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September 2019

Cult Med Psychiatry. 1995 Sep; 19(3): 385-408.

Naming and grouping illnesses in Feira (Brazil).

Ngokwey N.

Département de Sociologie et Anthropologie Université de Lubumbashi, Zaire.

This paper examines the naming and grouping of illnesses in the popular medicine of Feira de Santana, a city in Northeastern Brazil, in a context of medical pluralism. It discusses the principles used to name illnesses in Feira and the semantic shifts evident in popular nomenclature; examines the grouping of illnesses in Feira; and shows the flexibility of these situationally negotiated categorizations. It also analyzes the place of symptoms in local nosological knowledge and examines three folk illnesses as an illustration of the discussion of illness classification.


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