ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by James StaplesSubscribe to James Staples

Leprosy and the State

Internationally shaped policy on leprosy eradication in India has seen a shift in focus from institution-based care to community-based rehabilitation and, in Andhra Pradesh at least, the integration of leprosy services into general medical care. In tackling "encroachment" and "vagrancy", both of which are seen to undermine state visions of modernity, there has also been an increase in municipal action against leprosy deformed people making a living from begging on the streets, without addressing their need to make a living. These moves have weakened the capacity of leprosy affected people to mobilise themselves as a distinctive discriminated-against group, while implying that their difficulties are located foremost in a biological condition, rather than in negative social interpretations of that condition. This paper aims to highlight the ways in which policies, ostensibly designed to improve the lot of leprosy affected people, simultaneously perpetuate prejudices against them.

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