Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 453–469 | Cite as

Internal exclusion of leprosy sufferers: Dual ambivalence and its theoretical implications

  • Liora Navon


On the basis of an anthropological study combined with historical investigation, this paper analyzes Thai people's responses toward leprosy prior to the discovery of a cure for the disease. The findings indicate that the ambivalent perception of leprosy sufferers as anomalous figures led to their ambivalent segregation within the framework of the community. The analysis of this dual ambivalence is revealed as capable of reconciling two approaches to the study of deviance, grounded in conflicting assumptions concerning individual and cultural tolerance of ambivalence: the first focusing on ambivalent perceptions of social deviants, and the second dealing with ambivalent behavioral reactions toward them.

Key words

ambivalence social deviance anomaly liminality leprosy Thailand 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liora Navon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Nursing, School of Health Professions, Sackler Faculty of MedicineTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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