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Pesticides, maternal and child health: experience and the construction of knowledge among the Huichol.

Gamlin, JB; (2013) Pesticides, maternal and child health: experience and the construction of knowledge among the Huichol. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Pesticides can be harmful to the reproductive process and even low dose exposures can lead to miscarriage, developmental delays and birth defects. Huichol indians from the Sierra Madre highlands in northern Mexico supplement their subsistence lifestyle with annual migration to coastal tobacco farms, where they are exposed to the many pesticides that are used in the production process. The specific working and living conditions that they experience combined with cultural, economic and social factors ensure that this group of workers are particularly at risk to the effects of pesticides. This thesis will discuss how these migrant labourers understand their reproductive, maternal and child health outcomes considering the context within which they live and work, in particular their exposure to pesticides, traditional beliefs about health and their knowledge and practices relating to maternal and child health. Using ethnographic data and drawing largely on interpretative and critical medical anthropology this thesis will explore how supernatural understandings of illness causality, experiences as migrant labourers and their indigenous world view affect their understanding of the risks of pesticides. Underlying the central problems of their health are social, political, racial and economic conditions that have structured the way in which this population lives and works, ensuring that they are in harm’s way both as migrants and while living at home in the highlands. The thesis concludes that the greatest determinants of their knowledge and practices are historical and on-going forms of structural and everyday violence, mediated through their beliefs in supernatural causality. ce

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Pesticides, maternal and child health: experience and the construction of knowledge among the Huichol.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Huichol, Pesticides, Structural violence, Maternal health, Ethnomedicine
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1398308
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