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Charles Jedrej Lecture: Dangerous Bodies: Containment and Everyday Resistance during the Ebola Outbreak in Sierra Leone

Title
Charles Jedrej Lecture: Dangerous Bodies: Containment and Everyday Resistance during the Ebola Outbreak in Sierra Leone
Speaker(s)
Speaker: Luisa Enria # University of Bath; Introduced by: Ian Harper # University of Edinburgh
Hosted by
Introduced by
Date and Time
23rd Nov 2016 16:00 - 23rd Nov 2016 17:30
Location
Seminar rooms 1 & 2, Chrystal Macmillan Building
URL
http://www.cas.ed.ac.uk/events/seminar_series/2016_2017/charles_jedrej_lecture_dangerous_bodies_containment_and_everyday_resistance_during_the_ebola_outbreak_in_sierra_leone

As Ebola broke out in West Africa, the spread of the disease was considered not only a public health emergency but also a threat to international peace and security. This paper explores how the securitization of the epidemic has shaped poor communities’ experiences of citizenship in Sierra Leone from two points of view. Firstly, it will highlight how the declaration of the epidemic as a threat to security led to the depiction of the poor as a security risk, as poverty was identified as a key factor in explaining high rates of transmissions. This depiction in turn helped justify the militarization of disease control and the implementation of extensive state of emergency rules, including restrictions on freedom of movement, the suspension on public gatherings and the quarantining of homes manned by military personnel. Secondly, the paper will turn to an analysis of the impact of these discourses and containment measures on the everyday lives of the Sierra Leonean citizens. Relying on ethnographic work in Kambia District, Northern Sierra Leone, it will reflect on how those at the receiving end of these discourses made sense of and resisted the crisis and its regulations. It will do so by analysing three forms of resistance, both discursive and physical, used by Kambians to engage with the emergency: rumours that spread about the disease; cynical interpretations of emergency measures; and physical confrontations with those involved in disease containment practices.

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