An ethnographic exploration of agricultural psychiatric rehabilitation villages in Tanzania

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This thesis examines patients’ experiences of living with mental illness and addiction in the context of agricultural psychiatric rehabilitation villages. It focuses on community and family roles, treatment, work, and use of local healing. The thesis explores some of the complexities and tensions that exist within the village, and their Tanzanian context as a site of healing. It highlights the importance of relationships within this healing. It is based on three months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Tanzania, and thirty interviews with patients and health care workers. The focus is on the importance of social relationships in healing, and on the impact of mental illness on the patients’ narratives. By allowing patients’ stories to act as the basis of the research, their voices are honoured and a new perspective emerges on mental health. It contributes to anthropological literature on narrative as well as cross-cultural understandings of illness.

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Department of Sociology and Anthropology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)