‘Worms are our life’, part II: Luo children's thoughts about worms and illness

  • Geissler P
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Abstract

The ideas of Luo schoolchildren about worms and their role in the body were studied. Worms were found to be prominent in the children's body‐image and ideas about illness. To give meaning to their bodily experiences, children made use of both a ‘traditional’ and a ‘biomedical’ model, providing different views on the relationship of worms and the body. The children learned about the traditional model from older people and about the biomedical model in school. They made use of both models in their talk, in drawings of the body and in written compositions. They maintained the basic idea that worms were an unavoidable part of the body, but tried to integrate biomedical and traditional notions. The findings show that children, moving at the interface of ‘traditional’ knowledge conveyed informally in the family and ‘modern’ ideas, mainly conveyed in formal institutions, are creatively contributing to the integration of old and new and actively shaping the ideas about health and the body of a future generation.

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Authors

  • P. Wenzel Geissler

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