Rita Bossart: En ville, chacun est dans son chacun - une étude anthropologique sur l’importance des relations sociales en cas de maladie à Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire)

PhD-thesis within the framework of the NCCR North-South, University of Basel, Faculty of Humanities (2003)

The study was conducted in Southern Niangon, a heterogeneous sector of Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) and analyses the importance of social relations in case of illness in the urban environment. Central questions are: Which are the available treatments and how do people use them? What role do social networks play in trying to cope with health risks and illnesses? Which social relations are important and what aid is provided? The study looks at these issues under the conceptual framework of vulnerability, analyzing exposition to illness, capacity to mobilize social networks for aid, and potential consequences of the illness. The research takes into account age, gender and socioeconomic factors as well as the kind of disease as influential variables of capacity. Evidence is given that social relations can give support, but this shouldn’t be romanticized. Indeed, the social network can have negative impacts on individuals and be considered a cause of illness (witchcraft and sorcery).

The study was conducted in Southern Niangon, a heterogeneous sector of Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) and analyses the importance of social relations in case of illness in the urban environment. Central questions are: Which are the available treatments and how do people use them? What role do social networks play in trying to cope with health risks and illnesses? Which social relations are important and what aid is provided? The study looks at these issues under the conceptual framework of vulnerability, analyzing exposition to illness, capacity to mobilize social networks for aid, and potential consequences of the illness. The research takes into account age, gender and socioeconomic factors as well as the kind of disease as influential variables of capacity. Evidence is given that social relations can give support, but this shouldn’t be romanticized. Indeed, the social network can have negative impacts on individuals and be considered a cause of illness (witchcraft and sorcery).