Friday, October 20, 2006

Temporal thema and problem definition

In my thesis I want to focus on attitude to nature and scientific data in Nicaraguan villages round Maribio Volcano Range. Many studies point out the relation between health and nature and how the latter influences people’s wellbeing. Fugelli and Ingstad, for instance, write about Norwegians’ concept of nature as a source of health. With a staring point in environmental diseases I want to examine how people who are exposed to harmful impact of nature interpret their health situation. I want also to see how they accept the geological and medical expertises that began to throng to the villages not until the late eighties. According to SINAPRED (National System of Prevention, Mitigation and Attention to Disasters) CO2, SO2 and acid aerosols from eruptions and degassing events cause respiratory problems, conjunctivitis, pneumonia, coma, asphyxiation, skin, eye and throat irritation, blindness, tiredness and so. Volcanic emissions have also destroying impact on animals, plants and soil fertility. There are also observed damages to metallic constructions and infrastructure. According to SINAPRED’s reports local population is not aware of the risks and local beliefs are understood by authorities as a hindrance to perform successfully information campaigns and evacuation efforts.

My question is to which extent we can use perception of nature and beliefs as an approach to understand the conflict between local population and the experts. One of my assumptions is that there are precisely different cosmologies that are valid to those two groups, something that makes the mutual understanding difficult. This implies that I have to find what cultural meaning nature has to people at Los Maribios. The second assumption is that the attitude to science does mirror relation to persons who convey this. As development of health care and social service in
Nicaragua is connected with the national revival movement and campaigns after the Sandinista revolution in 1979, I suppose that these experts have to be seen in a wider historical context. Because there are they who try to convey scientific rationality, I have to examine what these experts stand for according to Los Maribios residents.

Some links, if anybody will be interested in more stuff, just say, but I really doubt:) :
  • SINAPRED (only spanish, lots of reports about each municipality and it's vulnerability and so)
  • INETER (Nicaraguan Geoscience Research Institute; last updates and a lot of stuff I've not read them all yet:)
Some articles:

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