(In)commensurable: Transnationalism, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Difference in Chinese Chronic Disease Science
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CitationAlexander, Lindsey. 2019. (In)commensurable: Transnationalism, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Difference in Chinese Chronic Disease Science. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation explores the representation of medical difference in Chinese chronic disease science. Drawing on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork with a group of chronic disease epidemiologists and their aging research subjects in Hong Kong, SAR and Guangzhou, PRC, respectively, it seeks to understand the dynamics and repercussions of an apparent paradox: Despite renewed appreciation of the plasticity and contextual embeddedness of forms of life and courses of disease in epidemiological science, these researchers continue largely to discount in their work local historical, social, and political forces as sources of pathogenesis that become differentially embodied by Guangzhouese and are reflected in unique patterns of chronic disease susceptibility, morbidity, and mortality. Rather than focusing on a single explanatory cause, and resisting claims of overdetermination, the dissertation instead frames the paradox as a contingent outcome of many structured macrolevel processes and micropolitical practices that historically have converged on the research group. By highlighting the contingency of these dynamics and pointing to parallel, if somewhat marginal, developments in the field that facilitate study of the contributions local social forms make to differential disease risk and outcomes, the dissertation ultimately aims to demonstrate the potential exists to build on practices and trends within chronic disease epidemiology in order to generate less reductionistic and more prosocial representations of medical difference in Chinese public health.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42106927
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