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Title:Using indigenous proverbs to understand social knowledge and attitudes to leprosy among the Yoruba of southwest Nigeria
Editor:Ebenso, BasseyISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Cultural Studies (ISSN 1369-6815)
Geographic term:Nigeria
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/13696815.2012.704263
Abstract:Following a systematic analysis of 23 proverbs obtained from ethnographic research and from literature searches, this article presents the cultural knowledge and attitudes about leprosy in Yorubaland, southwest Nigeria. The analysis indicates that contrary to fragmentary evidence portraying Yoruba attitudes to leprosy as entirely negative, there is a mixed pattern of social responses to leprosy which range from drastic exclusion to empathy and acceptance of people affected by leprosy. The authors show that there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that leprosy-related proverbs are used both as channels of social control and as a medium of knowledge production about leprosy. The fact that social interactions are saturated with metaphorical language in Yoruba culture makes the analysis of proverbs a valuable tool for identifying aspects of social discourse that influence stigmatization of disabled people. An interesting discovery of this research is that modern technology and social networking sites such as Facebook provide a new forum for the dissemination and preservation of proverbs and this article shows that proverbs are not part of an unchanging past but instead part of contemporary understandings of the world. App., bibliogr., note, sum. [Journal abstract]