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Life Exposed: Biological Citizens After Chernobyl

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Life Exposed: Biological Citizens After Chernobyl Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"An ethnographic triumph. Life Exposed is as much a cultural study of science as it is a history of a nuclear disaster and a story of the politics of nation making in Ukraine. As powerful an analysis of biological citizenship and national technical processes of managing risks as I have ever read. Yet also a moving meditation on the aftermath of disaster for a poor Eastern European state, including the moral and medical morass faced by those who negotiate its world of disability."--Arthur Kleinman, Harvard University

"This extremely interesting work treats the social, political, and personal implications of Chernobyl as a prism--reflecting the political-economic, clinical, legal, and biographical processes that characterize this 'open-ended' catastrophe. There is nothing comparable. Very well written, it will be of major interest to readers in risk analysis and risk sociology, science studies, political science, as well as to anyone interested in the consequences of megatechnologies."--Ulrich Beck, author of The Brave New World of Work and What is Globalization?

"This is a marvelous piece of research on a timely topic that ought to be of great interest to a broad audience in sociocultural anthropology, to scholars and makers of public policy, to specialists in the politics of transition, and to social science and humanities scholars interested in contemporary Ukraine. Petryna's story is very moving and the material is wonderfully rich and suggestive."--Mark L. von Hagen, Columbia University, author of Soldiers in the Proletarian Dictatorship

"Life Exposed is a fascinating and highly original ethnographic analysis of the fragile political, economic, and social transition to post-Soviet citizenship in Ukraine as viewed through the Chernobyl disaster. Above all, it opens a window on a harrowing world with which most English-language readers will be unfamiliar. Through Petryna's well-written presentation of the illness narratives we slowly come to comprehend the enormity of the situation. I know of no other work that makes such a clear case for the importance of biomedical world views, practices, bureaucracies, and negotiations as foundational to contemporary citizenship."--Rayna Rapp, New York University, author of Testing Women, Testing the Fetus

Synopsis:

"An ethnographic triumph. Life Exposed is as much a cultural study of science as it is a history of a nuclear disaster and a story of the politics of nation making in Ukraine. As powerful an analysis of biological citizenship and national technical processes of managing risks as I have ever read. Yet also a moving meditation on the aftermath of disaster for a poor Eastern European state, including the moral and medical morass faced by those who negotiate its world of disability."--Arthur Kleinman, Harvard University

"This extremely interesting work treats the social, political, and personal implications of Chernobyl as a prism--reflecting the political-economic, clinical, legal, and biographical processes that characterize this 'open-ended' catastrophe. There is nothing comparable. Very well written, it will be of major interest to readers in risk analysis and risk sociology, science studies, political science, as well as to anyone interested in the consequences of megatechnologies."--Ulrich Beck, author of The Brave New World of Work and What is Globalization?

"This is a marvelous piece of research on a timely topic that ought to be of great interest to a broad audience in sociocultural anthropology, to scholars and makers of public policy, to specialists in the politics of transition, and to social science and humanities scholars interested in contemporary Ukraine. Petryna's story is very moving and the material is wonderfully rich and suggestive."--Mark L. von Hagen, Columbia University, author of Soldiers in the Proletarian Dictatorship

"Life Exposed is a fascinating and highly original ethnographic analysis of the fragile political, economic, and social transition to post-Soviet citizenship in Ukraine as viewed through the Chernobyl disaster. Above all, it opens a window on a harrowing world with which most English-language readers will be unfamiliar. Through Petryna's well-written presentation of the illness narratives we slowly come to comprehend the enormity of the situation. I know of no other work that makes such a clear case for the importance of biomedical world views, practices, bureaucracies, and negotiations as foundational to contemporary citizenship."--Rayna Rapp, New York University, author of Testing Women, Testing the Fetus

Synopsis:

On April 26, 1986, Unit Four of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded in then Soviet Ukraine. More than 3.5 million people in Ukraine alone, not to mention many citizens of surrounding countries, are still suffering the effects. Life Exposed is the first book to comprehensively examine the vexed political, scientific, and social circumstances that followed the disaster. Tracing the story from an initial lack of disclosure to post-Soviet democratizing attempts to compensate sufferers, Adriana Petryna uses anthropological tools to take us into a world whose social realities are far more immediate and stark than those described by policymakers and scientists. She asks: What happens to politics when state officials fail to inform their fellow citizens of real threats to life? What are the moral and political consequences of remedies available in the wake of technological disasters?

Through extensive research in state institutions, clinics, laboratories, and with affected families and workers of the so-called Zone, Petryna illustrates how the event and its aftermath have not only shaped the course of an independent nation but have made health a negotiated realm of entitlement. She tracks the emergence of a "biological citizenship" in which assaults on health become the coinage through which sufferers stake claims for biomedical resources, social equity, and human rights. Life Exposed provides an anthropological framework for understanding the politics of emergent democracies, the nature of citizenship claims, and everyday forms of survival as they are interwoven with the profound changes that accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union.

About the Author

Adriana Petryna is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the New School.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Note on Transliteration xvii

Chapter 1: Life Politics after Chernobyl 1

Time Lapse 1

A Technogenic Catastrophe 9

Nation Building 20

Experimental Systems 25

Docta Ignorantia 27

The Unstoppable Course of Radiation Illness 32

Chapter 2: Technical Error: Measures of Life and Risk 34

A Foreign Burden 34

Saturated Grid 36

Institute of Biophysics, Moscow 39

Soviet-American Cooperation 41

Safe Living Politics 49

Life Sciences 55

Risk In Vivo 59

Chapter 3: Chernobyl in Historical Light 63

How to Remember Then 64

New City of Bila-Skala 66

Vitalii 67

Contracts of Truth 69

Oksana 70

Anna 72

Requiem for Storytelling 76

Chapter 4: Illness as Work: Human Market Transition 82

City of Sufferers 82

Capitalist Transition 92

Nothing to Buy and Nothing to Sell 94

Medical-Labor Committees 102

Disability Claims 107

Illness for Life113

Chapter 5: Biological Citizenship 115

Remediation Models 115

Normalizing Catastrophe119

Suffering and Medical Signs 121

Domestic Neurology 126

Disability Groups 130

Law, Medicine, and Corruption 138

Material Basis of Health 143

Chapter 6: Local Science and Organic Processes 149

Social Rebuilding 149

Radiation Research 151

Between the Lesional and the Psychosocial 156

New Sociality 165

Doctor-Patient Relations 174

No One Is Hiding Anything Anymore 176

In the Middle of the Experiment 181

Chapter 7: Self and Social Identity in Transition 191

Anton and Halia 191

Beyond the Family: Kvartyra and Public Voice 194

Medicalized Selves 201

Everyday Violence 206

Lifetime 212

Chapter 8: Conclusion 215

Notes 221

Bibliography 239

Index 253

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691090191
Subtitle:
Biological Citizens after Chernobyl
Author:
Petryna, Adriana
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton, N.J.
Subject:
Ethnology
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Radioactive pollution
Subject:
Modern - 20th Century/Nuclear Age
Subject:
Chernobyl Nuclear Accident, Chornobyl§, Ukraine, 198
Subject:
Government - Comparative
Subject:
Anthropology - General
Subject:
Anthropology
Subject:
Biological Sciences.
Subject:
World History-1650 to Present
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
In-formation series
Series Volume:
v. 39: [p.] 1-128
Publication Date:
October 2002
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
2 line illus. 2 tables. 2 maps.
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 14 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
History and Social Science » Politics » International Studies
History and Social Science » Russia » Soviet States Post 1985
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » Russia

Life Exposed: Biological Citizens After Chernobyl Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691090191 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "An ethnographic triumph. Life Exposed is as much a cultural study of science as it is a history of a nuclear disaster and a story of the politics of nation making in Ukraine. As powerful an analysis of biological citizenship and national technical processes of managing risks as I have ever read. Yet also a moving meditation on the aftermath of disaster for a poor Eastern European state, including the moral and medical morass faced by those who negotiate its world of disability."--Arthur Kleinman, Harvard University

"This extremely interesting work treats the social, political, and personal implications of Chernobyl as a prism--reflecting the political-economic, clinical, legal, and biographical processes that characterize this 'open-ended' catastrophe. There is nothing comparable. Very well written, it will be of major interest to readers in risk analysis and risk sociology, science studies, political science, as well as to anyone interested in the consequences of megatechnologies."--Ulrich Beck, author of The Brave New World of Work and What is Globalization?

"This is a marvelous piece of research on a timely topic that ought to be of great interest to a broad audience in sociocultural anthropology, to scholars and makers of public policy, to specialists in the politics of transition, and to social science and humanities scholars interested in contemporary Ukraine. Petryna's story is very moving and the material is wonderfully rich and suggestive."--Mark L. von Hagen, Columbia University, author of Soldiers in the Proletarian Dictatorship

"Life Exposed is a fascinating and highly original ethnographic analysis of the fragile political, economic, and social transition to post-Soviet citizenship in Ukraine as viewed through the Chernobyl disaster. Above all, it opens a window on a harrowing world with which most English-language readers will be unfamiliar. Through Petryna's well-written presentation of the illness narratives we slowly come to comprehend the enormity of the situation. I know of no other work that makes such a clear case for the importance of biomedical world views, practices, bureaucracies, and negotiations as foundational to contemporary citizenship."--Rayna Rapp, New York University, author of Testing Women, Testing the Fetus

"Synopsis" by , On April 26, 1986, Unit Four of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded in then Soviet Ukraine. More than 3.5 million people in Ukraine alone, not to mention many citizens of surrounding countries, are still suffering the effects. Life Exposed is the first book to comprehensively examine the vexed political, scientific, and social circumstances that followed the disaster. Tracing the story from an initial lack of disclosure to post-Soviet democratizing attempts to compensate sufferers, Adriana Petryna uses anthropological tools to take us into a world whose social realities are far more immediate and stark than those described by policymakers and scientists. She asks: What happens to politics when state officials fail to inform their fellow citizens of real threats to life? What are the moral and political consequences of remedies available in the wake of technological disasters?

Through extensive research in state institutions, clinics, laboratories, and with affected families and workers of the so-called Zone, Petryna illustrates how the event and its aftermath have not only shaped the course of an independent nation but have made health a negotiated realm of entitlement. She tracks the emergence of a "biological citizenship" in which assaults on health become the coinage through which sufferers stake claims for biomedical resources, social equity, and human rights. Life Exposed provides an anthropological framework for understanding the politics of emergent democracies, the nature of citizenship claims, and everyday forms of survival as they are interwoven with the profound changes that accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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