Degree Name

MALS (Master of Arts in Liberal Studies)

Program

Liberal Studies

Date of Award

5-2018

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Jill LeRoy-Frazier

Committee Members

Marie Tedesco, Jamie Branam Brown

Abstract

The 2014 Ebola outbreak, mostly affecting Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, is the largest ever recorded. The Ebola response encountered resistance in some affected communities, where some residents accused relief agencies from the Global North of denigrating local cultures. This thesis examines mainstream Western media and health experts’ representation of culture in the Ebola-affected region and employed Foucauldian analysis of discursive power to discuss the impact of such a representation on the concerned communities. Through a content analysis of selected journal and news articles by Western scholars and media and official reports by some relief agencies involved with the Ebola response, the study discovers evidence of culture bias. There was a use of significantly negative words in describing aspects of culture in the Ebola-affected region. Western media and health experts also largely associated the epidemic with African “backwardness.”

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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