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Title: 'We just buy illness in exchange for hunger' : experiences of health care, health and illness among Bangladeshi women in Britain
Author: Khanum, Sultana Mustafa
ISNI:       0000 0001 3598 5194
Awarding Body: University of Keele
Current Institution: Keele University
Date of Award: 1994
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Implementation of technological imperatives in health services is the prime condition in the good health of the people. How far can this ensure good health of the mass in a society? In the present study an effort has been made to identify the obstacles to good health despite the improved infrastructural support. Thus this thesis aims to contribute to two areas of debate; 1. The impact of economic development and technical change on rural populations in the Third World. The thesis contributes to this only indirectly. 2. The relative weight of a minority culture and majority racism as influences on the health behaviour and health status of ethnic community in Britain. The extreme positions in this debate hold that either, (a) minority behaviour can be understood in terms of the tenacious hold of traditional cultural practices, ('culture blaming' often interpreted as 'victim blaming'), or (b) that differences in their health status and behaviour are better explained in terms of the problems of access to health care which racist attitudes and practices present to them in this country ('racism blaming'). The thesis is based on fieldwork among Bangladeshi women in an industrial city in which I looked at issues, such as; the concept of illness and causation of disease, fertility decisions, pregnancy, uses of local health services, household and family dynamics etc. The study is based on ethnographic method in which 140 women were interviewed. The main findings were: the 'norms' of Bangladeshi culture and 'racism' are used as the means of retaining class-based interests of a particular group in the society. This creates boundaries between different groups, hindering the less privileged groups' access to the indispensable forces of social change, one such force being medical technology. Institutional racism not only creates inter-ethnic boundaries but also encourages a privileged section of the ethnic minority to effectively counteract the steps taken by the Government to change the position of the mass of the ethnic community by anticipating threats to their class interests. In order to secure their position in the host society, they use the notion of "blaming approaches". This is very similar to the way in which rural and urban elites in the Third World (by using the notion of 'cultural norms' and 'culture of poverty') can stand between disadvantaged groups and the policies designed to help the latter.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Racial minorities ; Medical care ; Human services