A cross-cultural study of folk health knowledge

  • Pauline Ginnety

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The idea for this thesis arose out of two unrelated experiences in the field of health-care. As a volunteer on a community health project in Zambia, I found that anthropological studies gave a valuable insight into the culture of the Tonga people among whom I was working (Colson 1962) . At the time I was involved in providing health care at a rural health centre as well as undertaking health education and preventive programmes with people in the surrounding villages. Some years later, I realised that I also needed to understand the social and cultural meanings behind the epidemiological(1) data which I was using in my work in Northern Ireland. Since no suitable anthropological material was available about the health of people in Belfast, I undertook this study.

My work, as a health education officer in the health service in Belfast, entailed developing educational approaches to address some of the health problems affecting the local community. These approaches were directed at encouraging people to take up healthy practices, such as immunisation, and to avoid unhealthy ones, such as smoking.
Date of AwardDec 1994
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorKay Milton (Supervisor)

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