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In An Epidemic of Rumors, Jon D. Lee examines the human response to epidemics through the lens of the 2003 SARS epidemic. Societies usually respond to the eruption of disease by constructing stories, jokes, conspiracy theories, legends, and rumors, but these narratives are often more damaging than the diseases they reference. The information disseminated through them is often inaccurate, incorporating xenophobic explanations of the disease’s origins and questionable medical information about potential cures and treatment.

Folklore studies brings important and useful perspectives to understanding cultural responses to the outbreak of disease. Through this etiological study Lee shows the similarities between the narratives of the SARS outbreak and the narratives of other contemporary disease outbreaks like AIDS and the H1N1 virus. His analysis suggests that these disease narratives do not spring up with new outbreaks or diseases but are in continuous circulation and are recycled opportunistically. Lee also explores whether this predictability of vernacular disease narratives presents the opportunity to create counter-narratives released systematically from the government or medical science to stymie the negative effects of the fearful rumors that so often inflame humanity.

With potential for practical application to public health and health policy, An Epidemic of Rumors will be of interest to students and scholars of health, medicine, and folklore.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-xiv
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  1. Introduction: The Yellow Brick Road
  2. pp. 1-7
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  1. 1. Chronicle of a Health Panic
  2. pp. 8-57
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  1. 2. SARS and AIDS: A Comparison of Etiological Legends
  2. pp. 58-73
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  1. 3. We Gather Together: SARS and Public Space
  2. pp. 74-90
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  1. 4. Private Actions in Public Spaces: SARS and Paradigm Violations
  2. pp. 91-103
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  1. 5. “Please Receive Communion through Your Hands”: Personal and Communal Mediation of Stigma in the 2003 SARS Epidemic
  2. pp. 104-118
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  1. 6. The Cause and the Cure: Folk Medicine and SARS
  2. pp. 119-138
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  1. 7. This Little Virus Went to Market: A Comparison of H1N1 Narratives
  2. pp. 139-168
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  1. 8. Full Circle: The Recycling of Disease Narratives
  2. pp. 169-181
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  1. Epilogue: ...And the World Moved On?
  2. pp. 182-186
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  1. Appendix: A Contribution toward a Typology of Disease Narratives
  2. pp. 187-191
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  1. References
  2. pp. 192-214
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  1. About the Author
  2. p. 215
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 216-219
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780874219296
Related ISBN
9780874219289
MARC Record
OCLC
874563518
Pages
233
Launched on MUSE
2014-10-11
Language
English
Open Access
No
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