Communities of the Afflicted: Constituting Leprosy through Place in South India
With the promotion of Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) as a solution to health-related issues across the global South, leprosy colonies have long been out of vogue for NGOs and State institutions alike. Such colonies, however, have endured. As is being increasingly recognised by those working in the leprosy field, such places have played a particular role not only in the provision of leprosy-related care, but also in forging new and collective identities for people affected by leprosy that might otherwise not have been possible. In this article, I draw on ethnographic fieldwork in one such colony in coastal Andhra Pradesh, South India, and explore the values invested in it as a particular kind of place; its geographical location on the peripheries; and its architecture and layout (inspired in part by colonial sanatoriums) which have particular implications for how leprosy and its ramifications are constituted and managed.
Key words: Christianity; community-based rehabilitation (CBR); India; leprosy; therapeutic landscapes