Ritti Soncco

Project Title: Ticknology: On the Visibility and Invisibility of Lyme Disease in Landscapes, Knowledge Production and Non-Human Relations in Scotland

This research examines the growing problem of Lyme disease, an infectious disease spread by ticks, as it becomes native to Scotland. Although antibiotic treatment is available, Lyme disease is easily misdiagnosed and can lead to joint swelling, muscle deterioration, memory problems, heart problems, and more. In 2017, the Scottish Highlands were earmarked by scientists as areas of high-risk for Lyme disease, yet there is little to no mention of the disease on government and tourist websites. This is worrying as the Highlands are becoming increasingly popular tourist destinations for hillwalking and camping. Scotland’s hills, mountains and parks are currently under-researched for ticks and Scottish residents and tourists alike are unaware that Lyme disease poses a threat and what they can do to prevent it. My research examines how awareness of Lyme disease is created in the tourist industry and among residents in Scotland, in interactions with companion and wild animals who may bring infected ticks into human spaces, and how information is shared between scientists, medical doctors, vets, the Scottish government, and the public.

Awarded: Carnegie PhD Scholarship

Field: Social Anthropology

University: University of Edinburgh

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