László Lajtai
Semmelweis University, Budapest,
Institute of Behavioural Sciences
University of Edinburgh
School of Social and Political Science
Department of Social Anthropology
Language Games, Reproducing
Inequalities, and an "Opiod
Democracy": The Triumph of
Buprenorphine in Mauritius
Emerging Africa 2012
Old Friends, New Partnerships and Perspectives for the 21st
Century
14 – 16 June 2012
University of Pécs, Africa Research Centre
Field sites
9 months stationary
anthropoogical
fieldwork
2009 - 2010
MAURITIUS
Île Maurice
Moris
population: 1.2 million
main island: 1865 km²
GDP (PPP) Pro Capita (IMF): 11,992 $
52% Hindu
17% Muslim
(69% Indo-Mauritian)
28% Creole (‘Afro – Mauritian’)
2% Sino-Mauritian
<1% Franco-Mauritian
Many Controversies regarding the Categories!
Communalism. Compartmentalised social stratification.
Languages in Mauritius
Baker, 1972; Stein, 1982; Rajah-Carrim, 2004; Atchia-Emmerich, 2005
Three Main:
Mauritian Creole
-
French - English
Also spoken:
Bhojpuri, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Marathi, Hakka, Cantonese,
Gujarati
‘Ancestral’ languages in the Education, Religion and Media:
Hindi, Urdu, (Arabic), Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Mandarin
Multilingualism in Mauritius
Mauritian Creole is used with family members, friends, neighbours, houseemployees, colleagues, especially subordinate ones, people in the street (unless
strangers), in the market, in most shops, with taxi-drivers and policemen, and in
personal topics.
French is preferred in the bank, post-office, clubs, restaurants, and clinics,
with office clerks, government officers, bosses, Catholic priests, and in writing or
reading.
Diglossia, code mix and code-switching
English is used in government offices and parliament, court, written
documents (official language) and books , in education, with tourists, strangers
(except Creole strangers), teachers, occasionally with friends and not subordinate
colleagues, in some businesses,.
Stylistic marker. Contrary to global trends, French has been taking over
positions from English.
‘Oriental’ languages are only in use in specific religious occasions,
sometimes with family members inside the family house (Bhojpuri and Hakka).
These languages have high symbolic, emotional, identity-forming and political
importance.
Sectors of Health Care in Mauritius
 Hospital
– Mauritian Creole, English
 Clinique
– French, Mauritian Creole
 Cabinet
 NGO
- Mauritian Creole, French
- Mauritian Creole, French
 Traditional
Creole
Healing – Mauritian
Clinique Bon Pasteur
Clinique Med Point
Clinique Ferrière
Centre de Solidarité Rosehill
Seized Subutex
Smuggled from France
Buprenorphine
Politics in Mauritius

On 24th February 2010, Prime Minister
Navinchandra Ramgoolam declared that he was in
favour of the re-introduction of the death penalty
in Mauritius in order to crack down on the
traffickers of Subutex (Kanhye 2010).

At the climax of the electoral campaign which led
up to Mauritian General Elections in May 2010,
Paul Bérenger, leader of the opposition, seeking the
most impressive catch-phrases to influence the
electors, announced a campaign against the
‘Subutex Mafia’ and called his political opponents
‘une alliance Subutex dirigée par des fils à
papa’(Chavrimootoo 2010a; 2010b). (“The alliance
of Subutex led by [three] daddies’ boys”) the three
parties in the government alliance were led by sons
of three famous elder statesmen of Mauritius.
The Rise of Buprenorphine

The cumulative prevalence of officially recorded HIV
positive cases in Mauritius (CUT 2010; Government
of Mauritius, National Aids Secretariat Prime
Ministers’s Office 2010):

1987:
1997:
2001:
2003:
2005:
2007:
2008:
2009:







1
168
356
698
2161
3284
3841
4389
Reasons:
 1. Iv. Subutex Use
 2. Prostitution

Centre de Solidarité – The
Verandah
I. Rosehill
Centre de Solidarité – The
Verandah
II. Rosehill
 “Parmi
bann toxikoman pena endien,
pena kreol, pena misilman…” (“There
is no Indian, no Creole, no Muslim
among the drug addicts”)
 „Opioid Democracy”
 Ease to approach – Use of Mauritian
Creole
 Relative informal therapeuthic
relations - NGO
Group Therapy session in the
Kominote (CdS Triolet) I.
Group Therapy session in the
Kominote (CdS Triolet) II.
 Exceptional
opportunity
 „Tou Korek” mentality (historic
reference)
 „Lack” of „psychological” vocabulary
 Contrast between informal and formal
 Failure of the session (Resistence
signs)
The Price of Social
Equilibrium
 Social
peace – Underlying tensions
 Internalised anxiety
 Substance use and misuse
 Limited chances for „Cure” in
biomedical sense
Theoretical Perspective and
Conclusions










Linguistic Marketplace (Bourdieu) - commodities
„Technologies” of Power (Foucault) – linguistic
„Real” ideology - unaware ideology (Žižek)
Perspective from an Eastern European nation state
Postcolonial elites
„Toxic” Francophonie
Fights and sabotage about standardisation
Reproduction of inequalities
Escape routes can be detrimental – substance misuse
Treatment and Care for Health and Mental Health
controversially re-enforce power relations and do not
cure but worsens mental problems
Thank you –
Köszönöm–
Mersi
Mauritius
No aboriginal population
 ‘Arab’ – Portuguese - Dutch antecedents
 1721 – French colony – Plantations and African slaves
 1810 – British colony - Sugarcane
 1842 – 1902 Indian Immigration of indentured labourers
Dominant French aristocracy, rise of the Gens-du-Couleur,
communalism
 (1947-) 1968- Plural parliamentary democracy, parties on
both ethnic and class grounds, diverse coalitions
 1968 Independence – Arc-en-Ciel/Arkansyel/Rainbow
Fabianism
 1965, 1967, 1999 Riots
 Ethnic, religious and caste institutions endogamy
 EPZ, Tourism and the ‘Thompson effect’
«Dans une société fragile comme Maurice, on ne devrait pas jouer avec la langue, la
culture et la religion.»
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam
WEEK-END --- dimanche 15 juillet 2007
VIH & Sida
Satish Faugoo: "Nous n'avons pas assez fait"
La lutte contre le VIH et Sida sera coordonnée à travers le
National Multisectorial HIV and AIDS Strategic Framework
2007-2011. Le plan a été validé la semaine dernière…
Dans la lutte contre le Sida, Satish Faugoo estime que "ce
n'est pas que nous n'ayons rien fait, c'est plutôt que nous n'avons
pas assez fait". Maurice veut apprendre de ses erreurs et rectifier
le tir, dit le ministre de la Santé. L'analyse et l'évaluation du travail
effectués dans le passé ont aidé dans la préparation du National
Multisectorial HIV and AIDS Strategic Framework 2007-2011. Ce
document viendra remplacer le HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan 20012005…
Les objectifs de ce plan ont été présentés par le Dr Timol,
Principal Medical Officer. Satish Faugoo a expliqué qu'il est
nécessaire de savoir évaluer ce type de projet et que le monitoring
est primordial. Le Dr Pathak a été nommée à la tête du National Aids
Secretariat, du PMO, pour veiller à l'implémentation du plan.
Par ailleurs, Satish Faugoo explique que le HIV Bill, voté au
Parlement l'année dernière, devrait être proclamé à la fin de ce
mois…
Respondents to the question of ‘the language usually spoken’ in six Censuses (Stein 1982:225,
1986, Bissoonauth and Offord 2001, and Rajah-Carrim 2003).
1944
1952
1962
1972
1983
1990
2000
Total
419.185
447.462
638.746
826.199
966.863
1.022.456
1.143.069
Creole
149.380
35.6%
197.706
44.2%
289.112
45.3%
428.434
51.9%
521.950
53.98%
617.630
60.5%
791.465
69.24%
197.050
201.616
19.7%
142.385
12.46%
Bhojpuri
Hindi
219.093
52.3%
174.474
39.0%
206.978
32.4%
262.198
31.7%
111.134
12.845
1.3%
7.245
0.63%
Bhojpuri+Hindi
219.093
52.3%
174.474
39.0%
206.978
32.4%
262.198
31.74%
308.184
31.87%
214.461
21.0%
149.630
13.09%
Urdu
11.7965 2.6%
40.667 6.4%
23.470 2.9%
23.572 2.44%
6.804 0.7%
1.789
0.16%
Tamil
9.481 2.1%
17.970 2.8%
29.094 3.5%
35.646 3.68%
8.002 0.8%
3.622
0.32%
Telugu
3.564 0.8%
6.721 1.1%
17.364 2.1%
15.364 1.59%
6.437 0.6%
2.169
0.19%
Marathi
1.341 0.3%
7.420 1.2%
12.036 1.5%
12.420 1.28%
7535 0.7%
1.888
0.17%
Chinese
languages
9.931 2.4%
11.262 2.5%
13.621 2.1%
9.417 1.1%
6.156 0.64%
3.650 0.3%
8.736
0.76%
French
35.895
8.6%
36.227 8.1%
53.367 8.3%
39.240 4.8%
36.048 3.73%
34.343 3.4%
39.827
3.44%
English
1.386 0.3%
656
1.824 0.3%
2.279 0.3%
2.028 0.21%
2.232
3.505
0.31%
0.2%
0.2%
Biomedicine in Mauritius (Kalla, 1995; Devi, 2008;
Government of Mauritius (www.gov.mu)
Reports of
Fast development after 1945, malaria eradication,
sudden drop in fertility rate
 Free health care from primary to tertiary level
 Private sector – „Clinics”, „Cabinets”, „Apollo-Bramwell”
 Basic medical training, foreign training to become
specialist
 No major shortage of medics; exporting doctors
 Life expectancy 68·7 years for men and 75·6 years for
women
 Psychiatry > Brown Sequard Hospital
 Diabetes, Obesity, Cardiovascular diseases
 Rising HIV rate, 90% iv. Drug users
 Health tourism

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