Heterotopia and Illness: Older women and Hypertension in a Brazilian Favela
Annette Leibing, PhD
Professor of Medical Anthropology
Faculty of Nursing
Université de Montreal
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This article is about older women and the way hypertension is linked to their life in a favela, a “shantytown”, in Rio de Janeiro. Inspired by Foucault, I suggest calling this complex phenomenon ‘heterotopic illness’. By calling attention to the importance of place for understanding certain illnesses, the limited usefulness of some public health prevention campaigns is shown. Since hypertension can be considered a “disease of aging”, it will be argued that some place-related stressors often have a greater impact on seniors than they have on younger adults.
Keywords: Heterotopic illness, favela, Brazil, place, hypertension, aging.
Leibing, Annette. 2014. Heterotopia and Illness: Older women and Hypertension in a Brazilian Favela. Anthropology & Aging Quarterly 34(4): 225-237.