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In the Blood: Sickle Cell Anemia and the Politics of Race

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7224.1582a (Published 11 December 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1582
  1. Haroon Saloojee, community paediatrician
  1. University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

    Melbourne Tapper

    University of Pennsylvania Press, £21.50, pp 160

    ISBN 0 8122 34715


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    “Race” is a concept that has occupied a prominent place in the American culture for centuries. In spite of being conceptually vague, the use of “race” in health research has a long and sometimes disturbing history. Currently, thousands of publications exist on black-white differences in behaviour and disease patterns. Most anthropologists have rejected the traditional Western notion of race—as bounded, identifiable biological groups—both as a research tool and as a valid representation of biological diversity Nevertheless, the racialisation of disease continues to be a pervasive practice, risking the …

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