Authors: Pilasinee Wongnuch, Pimpawun Boonmongkon, and Thomas E Guadamuz

Research Article

Year: 2019, Volume 19 Number 2

Page: 142–154


This paper aims to investigate the dengue fever discourse and discursive practices in a Thai village that produces lucky bamboo in terms of the source of poor sanitary, vector breeding, site of transmission, and responses of those in the village. In particular, villagers who produce lucky bamboo have been blamed for the risk for dengue emergence in the community, despite having no cases of dengue fever. The study included 14 months of participant observation, ethnographic interviews with 19 lucky bamboo farmers, in-depth interviews with 69 villagers, semi-structured interviews with 10 local government officials, and a discourse analysis on international guidelines, research articles, policy texts, official reports, and project documents. The critical discourse analysis framework inspired the inquiry and analytical procedure. The key findings of this study were as follows: (1) the dengue fever discourse was produced through expert communication events consisting of an entomological approach and by the epidemiological triangle model, which has formed the basic conceptual framework that has been used by both international health agencies and public health interventions in many countries; (2) entomological surveillance, a dengue risk map and red flag labels were used as legitimate strategies for influencing people and the community; and (3) the response of the community included questioning the blame, and acceptance of the dominant discourse or sublimation. This study demonstrates that expert knowledge and practice were factors in naming and blaming the people even in periods without infection.

Keywords: blame, critical discourse analysis, dengue fever, ethnography, lucky bamboo village