Monday, April 20, 2020

Recommended Reading on Differing Cultural Understandings of Disease

Rev. Esther Inuwa, an intern for Church and Society, has written a post on Church and Society's website entitled "A United Methodist Reflections on COVID-19 in Nigeria." While the post can be read for its connection to the current pandemic, it is most insightful as a window into the ways in which disease is understood differently and therefore produces different responses in a non-Western culture than in Western culture. Rev. Inuwa, a native of Nigeria currently studying in the US, is to be commended for her informed and accessible depiction of Nigerian cultural understandings of disease, understandings that differ significantly from those common in the United States. Last week, I recommended the work of Hofstede and Meyer on differing cultural values. Rev. Inuwa adds a significant element to that discussion of cultural differences. They are not just about values but about the mental schemas that people use to make sense of the world around them. Rev. Inuwa's piece therefore further shows the challenge of being an international, intercultural church.

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