Blackfellows, whitefellows and head lice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis) are considered favourably by many Aboriginal residents at Doomadgee Mission on the Nicholson River in the far north-west corner of Queensland. This paper presents descriptive data that portray what people do with, and what they think about, head lice. It also discusses some European reactions to the lice, and refers to a general theoretical concept of 'social grooming'. In the cross-cultural context portrayed, the data demonstrate the inappropriateness of imposing ethnocentric European definitions about illness and health on Aboriginal populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-72
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Aboriginal Studies: Journal of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1981
Externally publishedYes


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