AdvisorNichter, Mark A.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoDissertation not available (per author's request)
AbstractThis study of popular health culture in southeastern Morocco examines how women produce health in the household, from the perspective of aesthetic values in a setting of medical pluralism. The study of dominant themes and core values in the Ziz Valley illuminates local forms of common sense and embodied notions of the world. It is argued that aesthetic knowledge guides interpretation of illness experiences and perceptions of well-being as women evaluate feelings of security and vulnerability in everyday life. In Morocco, the aesthetic values of rhythm, balance, facade, and purity order the emergent experience of body, household, and society. These values gain meaning in relationship to the moral and spiritual tenets of local Islam. The dissertation examines how the five daily prayers set a rhythm for the day, in which the activities of prayer, ablution, housework, eating, and socializing create a rhythm for the body in the day. From this baseline, the study examines how multiple, intersecting explanations of health and illness play out among women caregivers living in multigenerational households. In case studies describing situations that culturally mark individuals as highly vulnerable, women employ practices that protect and restore states of well-being, revealing how aesthetic values give form to experience. Finally, the dissertation shows how feelings of vulnerability guide behavior in everyday life. Examples illustrate how women communicate vulnerability through illness and participation in collective memory, and support the argument that the production of well-being in Morocco incorporates physical, social, spiritual, and emotional aspects of experience.
Degree ProgramGraduate College