Project | 01
Maraña: Leishmaniasis and the Pharmaceuticalization of War in Colombia
This ethnographic monograph explores how the Colombian armed conflict and a vector-borne disease called cutaneous leishmaniasis are inextricably connected and mutually constitutive. The stigmatization of the illness as “the guerrilla disease” is reinforced by the state’s restriction on access to antileishmanial medicines, a measure that is commonly interpreted as a warfare strategy to affect insurgent groups. Situated at the intersection between STS and critical medical anthropology, this work draws on multi-sited field research conducted during the peace implementation period after the agreement reached by the Colombian government and FARC, the oldest and largest guerrilla organization in Latin America. It engages not only with the stigmatization of leishmaniasis patients as guerrilla members and the exclusionary access to antileishmanial drugs but also with other closely related aspects that constitute the war-shaped experience of leishmaniasis in Colombia. This work illuminates how leishmaniasis has been socially, discursively, and materially constructed as a disease of the war, and how the armed conflict is entangled with the realm of public health, medicine, and especially pharmaceutical drugs.