Contesting the reservoir: Guarani-Mbya criticisms of zoonosis, race, and dirt in the Jaraguá indigenous land, Brazil

Bruno Silva Santos*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

In Brazil, epidemiological understandings of zoonosis have historically articulated with race and class hierarchies, placing so-called non-modern bodies at the core of etiological theories and sanitary interventions. I describe how the Guarani-Mbya people living in the Jaraguá Indigenous Land in the city of São Paulo question the racialized narratives that human-rat contact is a major driver of infections such as leptospirosis. By analyzing Indigenous concepts of body, disease, and dirt, I suggest that the Guarani-Mbya disease ontology reflects a criticism of urbanization, in that it is considered to have pathogenic effects on the lives of Indigenous peoples and rats.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-368
JournalMedical Anthropology
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Disease ontologies
  • Guarani-Mbya
  • Interethnic relations
  • Latin American metropolis
  • Rodent-borne infections
  • Urbanization

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