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Hookworm and Pellagra: Exemplary Diseases in the New South

Stephen J. Kunitz
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 29, No. 2 (Jun., 1988), pp. 139-148
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2137054
Page Count: 10
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Abstract

This paper argues that ideas of causal attribution of disease changed profoundly in the decades surrounding the turn of the present century. Causal specificity became the model for theoretical understanding. Such a model could be assimilated to different ideological positions, however: to one based on notions of individual responsibility, sin, and redemption, or to one based on society as an independent variable. The different approaches taken toward hookworm and pellagra in southern cotton-mill villages exemplify these two different ways of using the new model of disease causation.

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