Social Influence, Control, and Ethnomedicine Between Historical and Mythical Etiologies in Some African Communities


Alyaa Al-Hussein
Mohamed Shahba

Socio-cultural indigenous beliefs about ill health and the links among medical, cultural, social, and common folk remedies deserve careful examination. This work addressed the links among medical, cultural, religious, and social anthropological forms of knowledge and perception concerning the divine or supernatural power of the healers and social control in some representative African communities in Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, and Somalia. A qualitative ethnographic survey method was used. Twenty- 􀅫ive participants representing rural communities from Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, and Somalia were surveyed. SPSS program v26 (IBM, New York, NY, USA) was used to conduct non-parametric tests for the frequencies and percentages, while the chi-squared test was used for the qualitative variables. Qualitative variables were coded as needed for statistical analysis purposes. Causes of ill health can be supernatural, natural, or due to social elements. The importance of the social control element in maintaining good health and the link between social misconduct and ill health in local communities were assured. Local healers can support patients as they understand their cultural and social context and can set up treatment protocols that can be useful in social control within the limits of community taboos and totems. Patients’ self-judgment and social judgment can enhance the efforts of local healers in supporting patients. The proven relationships between supernatural, natural, and social factors in ill-health causation can help provide health care and social control strategies. Local communities’ beliefs must be considered when planning health promotion and disease prevention programs.


Keywords:Social control, herbalist, Folk remedies, Social taboos, Totems, Medical anthropology, Medicinal plants

Follow us: Facebook Tweeter



Call for Papers

Current issue available now
Join the Editorial Team

The Current issue (volume 20, Number 2, 2022) is available now

The Managerial Board of PJLSS is pleased to announce that from year 2018, journal will be published twice in a year.