ILLNESS and its REPRESENTATION

 

 

RUTTOPUISTO/ PEST PARK, HELSINKI

Edmund Leach has noted that a sign is always a member of a set of contrasted signs which function within a specific cultural context. That is, we know about "Light" in the presence of its absence: "Darkness." Something of the sort happens in Ruttopuisto/Pest Park, Helsinki. No gravestones, no monuments, just a single plate in Finnish and another in Swedish casually remind the passer-by of a different era, of long gone fears...

Until the 1980's the promise of modern science and technology seemed to have eradicated these fears. But the "terror of pest" laid dormant in our subconscious, only to be awakened by the appearance of AIDS and other illnesses. There are many Pest Parks scattered all over the world. The most significant, however, may be found inside our mind. Lily Díaz

 

BIO POWER AND THE SOCIAL EXTENSIONS OF ILLNESS

I am interested in the social history of illness. Michel Foucalt is one of the most essential resources for analysis of this area. This is because Foucalt has studied the history of madness, sexuality, and knowledge, in relation to the power structures of society. I am also interested in how, throughout history, literature has represented what is normal and what is not. How at points poverty and illness have been regarded as synonymous, and how illness has quite often been represented through sexual illness, as is the case with AIDS. Hanna Holm

 

IN SICKNESS AND HEALTH

Disease and illness, as well as health, has interested me for several years now. My focus has mainly been how illnesses affect women: Why are women treated differently than men by doctors? Who is in control of women's bodies? Why are most diagnostics based on research done on men and then merely applied to women, without regards to the physiological differences? Why, historically, so-called difficult women been diagnosed as "hysterical" by male doctors? What is health? Who is healthy? Why is health taken for granted? KirsiMarja Metsähuone

 

 

Introduction