We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Silent Violence

Global Health, Malaria, and Child Survival in Tanzania

Vinay R. Kamat

Publication Year: 2013

Silent Violence engages the harsh reality of malaria and its effects on marginalized communities in Tanzania. Vinay R. Kamat presents an ethnographic analysis of the shifting global discourses and practices surrounding malaria control and their impact on the people of Tanzania, especially mothers of children sickened by malaria.

Malaria control, according to Kamat, has become increasingly medicalized, a trend that overemphasizes biomedical and pharmaceutical interventions while neglecting the social, political, and economic conditions he maintains are central to Africa’s malaria problem. Kamat offers recent findings on global health governance, neoliberal economic and health policies, and their impact on local communities.

Seeking to link wider social, economic, and political forces to local experiences of sickness and suffering, Kamat analyzes the lived experiences and practices of people most seriously affected by malaria—infants and children. The persistence of childhood malaria is a form of structural violence, he contends, and the resultant social suffering in poor communities is closely tied to social inequalities.

Silent Violence illustrates the evolving nature of local responses to the global discourse on malaria control. It advocates for the close study of disease treatment in poor communities as an integral component of global health funding. This ethnography combines a decade of fieldwork with critical review and a rare anthropological perspective on the limitations of the bureaucratic, technological, institutional, medical, and political practices that currently determine malaria interventions in Africa.

Published by: University of Arizona Press


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 2-7


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. ix-x

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. xi-xiv

Malaria is a complex mosquito-borne parasitic disease. It has an equally complex social history that is inextricably linked with poverty and structural inequality. The book’s title “Silent Violence” is derived from Randall Packard’s The Making of a Tropical Disease (2007) in which he demonstrates how the history of malaria is closely tied to chronic poverty, ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. xv-xviii

This book is a culmination of more than a decade of research and writing on malaria in Tanzania. It is also a partial record of how Tanzania’s malaria program has unfolded over a decade, its pivotal moments, and the direction in which it is headed. In the summer of 1998, CARE Tanzania offered me my first opportunity to travel to Africa as a consultant on a malaria project. ...

Part I: Global Discourses

read more

1. The Violence of a Global Killer

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 3-25

One early morning in February 2001, the head nurse at the village dispensary and a young woman with a very sick child tied around her waist with a kanga, were engaged in a loud verbal battle on the dispensary’s verandah. They were calling each other names and making insulting references to each other’s kabila or ethnic identity. ...

read more

2. Locating the Field

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 26-51

Mainland Tanzania is administratively divided into twenty-six regions (mkoa), and each region is further divided into districts (wilaya) and wards (kata). The Dar es Salaam region is divided into three districts: Kinondoni, Ilala, and Temeke, which is the largest of the three districts. It has an area of 407 square miles and, as of 2007, a population of 886,529. ...

read more

3. Commanding Heights and Failed Promises

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 52-72

In August 2000, the political atmosphere in the village was tense. Rival party leaders and representatives were making political speeches in a large open space close to the marketplace late into the evening hours. The two rival political parties were the CCM and the CUF. Tanzania, which was until recently a one-party socialist state,1 ...

Part II: Local Practices

read more

4. Micropolitics of Childhood Malaria

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 75-103

One early afternoon in April 2001, on my way to Kimbangulile, a small hamlet that sits on the top of one of the hills surrounding Mbande village, I recognized Zaituni, a woman in her mid-forties, as she was coming down the slopes of one of the hills. Two weeks earlier, I had engaged in an informal conversation with Zaituni at the dispensary in Mbande, ...

read more

5. Malaria Deaths and Meaning Making

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 104-129

Mwanzani, a forty-four-year old woman was desperately trying to revive her dying two-year-old daughter, Salama. Mzee Tinyango, the local mganga, had diagnosed Salama with degedege. Salama succumbed to her illness and died later that afternoon. The child’s father, Mzee Omary, along with others who had arrived to mourn her death, ...

read more

6. Malaria, Single Mothers, and Social Suffering

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 130-160

One late afternoon in July 2005, I was sitting on the threshold of a large Swahili house,1 along with Mama Afidhi, my field assistant, watching a mason putting some final additions to the exterior of a new concrete house that was about fifty feet away from where we were seated. ...

Part III: Philanthrocapitalism

read more

7. Old Ideas and New Promises

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 163-190

Hadija, a thirty-five-year-old mother of four children, was visibly distraught when she arrived at my house in Mbande for a prearranged interview. I had previously interviewed Hadija in December 2005, regarding her youngest child who was diagnosed with malaria and treated with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. ...

read more

8. Pharmaceutical Nexus and Globalizing Antimalarials

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 191-214

As with all pharmaceuticals, antimalarials have social lives. They are produced, marketed, prescribed, distributed through formal and informal channels, meet their death through one or another form of consumption, and have lives after death in the form of efficacy in modifying bodies (Whyte et al. 2002:13–14; ...

Part IV: The Way Forward

read more

9. Conclusion: From Malaria Control to Malaria Elimination

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 217-224

This book was not written as a policy prescription for malaria control or malaria elimination but as an anthropological critique of the shifting global discourses and practices on malaria. On the basis of insights developed during my ethnographic research in Tanzania, I have argued that global efforts to deal with malaria have become overzealously hegemonic, ...

read more

10. Epilogue: The End of Malaria?

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 225-226

On June 25, 2011, I visited Mbande along with three graduate students from North America and the U.K. who had read my work and wanted to see it for themselves. Prior to this visit, I had decided that this would be my last research-related visit to the village because I had initiated fieldwork on food security in the Mtwara region on the Tanzania-Mozambique border. ...

Glossary of Kiswahili Terms

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 227-232


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 233-260


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 261-288


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 289-299

read more

About the Author

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 321-321

Vinay Kamat received his PhD in social work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Bombay, India, in 1992 and his PhD in anthropology from Emory University in 2004. He had been an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of British Columbia since 2003 and in 2010 was promoted to associate professor. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780816599202
E-ISBN-10: 0816599203
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816529520
Print-ISBN-10: 0816529523

Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 15 photos, 1 table, 2 maps
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 867741314
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Silent Violence

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Malaria -- Social aspects -- Tanzania.
  • Malaria -- Treatment -- Tanzania.
  • Children -- Diseases -- Tanzania.
  • Tanzania -- Social conditions.
  • Tanzania -- Economic conditions.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access