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World studies

Stigma, Cultural Traditions and Identities: A New Geography of Health

November 2014

Where one lives in the world can have a profound influence on the standard of one’s health and life expectancy

Stigma, Cultural Traditions and Identities: A New Geography of Health

Common themes in geography such as climate, natural hazards, economic status and food security link strongly to the health of a nation and geographers have commonly sought to explore the conditions that make peoples of one location healthier and live longer than those of another. Less explored is how the cultural geography of a nation, its traditions and associated social norms and stigmas may have an influence on the health of its population. These traditions can in turn have a positive or negative effect on the economy and the development opportunities created by that country.
This case study will look in more detail at how three countries in Africa are affected by different health issues and explore how changing culture, traditions and stigma have had an effect on their continuance, as well as the long term and wide ranging impacts these cultural geographies may have.


A Level:
The study of one infectious disease (e.g. malaria, HIV/AIDS) its global distribution and its impact on health, economic development and lifestyle.
The study of one non-communicable disease (e.g. coronary disease, cancer) its global distribution and its impact on health, economic development and lifestyle.
There is a range of human cultures and a variety of cultural landscapes which continually change and evolve.
The cultural diversity of people and places is valued, and protected, to different degrees by different players.
How health affects both the quality of life and economic development.
The complex causes of health risks.

In the Members' Area:

  • Ebola in Liberia
  • Female Genital Mutilation in Ethiopia
  • Diabetes in South Africa

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