Writing a Generation Beyond Leprosy

Nikita Lamaire
Deze etnografische compositie, “Writing a Generation Beyond Leprosy: An ethnographic drawing concerning the design of complex narratives and the construction of practices which generations beyond leprosy meet and adopt”, is geschreven binnen een context om het behalen van een Master of Science in Sociale en Culturele Antropologie aan de Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Ik beschrijf gedetailleerd en genuanceerd levens die dagelijks de leprakolonies te Armanchella, Seva Yotthi Colony en Bethsaïda Colony, verwekken.

Writing a Generation Beyond Leprosy

Deze etnografische compositie, “Writing a Generation Beyond Leprosy: An ethnographic drawing concerning the design of complex narratives and the construction of practices which generations beyond leprosy meet and adopt”, is geschreven binnen een context om het behalen van een Master of Science in Sociale en Culturele Antropologie aan de Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Ik beschrijf gedetailleerd en genuanceerd levens die dagelijks de leprakolonies te Armanchella, Seva Yotthi Colony en Bethsaïda Colony, verwekken. Tot mijn verbazing en tevens een verwondering werden deze geografische locaties tevens verwekt en gebaard door generaties beyond lepra. De dagdagelijkse wedergeboorte vond niet enkel plaats door personen die een visueel signatuur droegen van lepra. De naamloze positie die deze personen, sociaal getroffen door lepra, bekleden, heeft nood aan een erkenning en herkenning van hun weefkracht. Dit is mijn bijdrage tot een onderbelicht thema in hedendaags onderzoek. Door het sociale karakter van lepra te accentueren en te belichten in dit naslagwerk, getuig ik dat lepra niet enkel als een lichamelijke belevenis wordt ervaren maar tevens op een sociale frequentie levens infecteert.

Dit relaas is een resultaat van een bescheiden, intense periode van drie maanden veldwerk te Damien Foundation Trust India te Nellore, Bethsaïda Rehabilitation Centre, Seva Yotthi Colony en een leprakolonie te Rapur. Deze periode van participerende observatie, vergezeld door relaties die fundeerden in wederkerigheid en sympathie, werd tevens gechaperonneerd door pre- en post-fieldwork. Samen met de informanten exposeer ik in dit naslagwerk onze stem.

Gedurende mijn onderzoek en analyse ontmoette ik drie ingrediënten, spanningsvelden, die uiteindelijk leidden tot dit harmonisch gerecht. De lichamelijke geraaktheid en de sociale geraaktheid door lepra leidde, volgens mijn waarnemingen, tot de genesis van een leprakaste, een “lepra endogamie” en revolterende gevoelens omtrent eigendomsrechten. Deze drie basisingrediënten infecteren tevens levens voorbij lepra. Deze generatie beyond lepra wordt zowel geëxposeerd als geanalyseerd. Voornamelijk hun bestaan creëerde deze monografie, waarin akka een hoofdrol bekleedde als belangrijkste informant van dit werk. Dit protest en de begeerte naar eigenen vormt de streng in deze vlecht. Naast deze drie basisingrediënten behandel ik tevens de metaforische beladenheid van lepra en voorzie ik theoretische frameworks waarbinnen deze waarnemingen worden geanalyseerd. Alvorens ik van start ga met deze analyse en vraagstellingen omtrent evidenties, contextualiseer ik het veld en getuig ik mijn sturende aanwezigheid die een persoonlijk signatuur achterlaat op dit werk.

Naast antwoorden bevat deze monografie vragen die verlangen naar een weerwoord. De analyse die ik exposeer in dit etnografisch werk, ontstond in een bevangenheid van tijd, plaats en antropoloog, die tevens de rol van een auteur vervult. Waardoor de nood naar nieuw en fris onderzoek steeds de poorten kan openen tot verdere verbazingen en verwonderingen binnen dit ontmoette veld. Verder onderzoek draagt bij tot de verlichting van levens die een onbekend bestaan bekleden. 

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Universiteit of Hogeschool
Sociale en Culturele Antropologie
Publicatiejaar
2013
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