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Fighting for BreathLiving Morally and Dying of Cancer in a Chinese Village$
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Anna Lora-Wainwright

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836825

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836825.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 27 January 2022

Water, Hard Work, and Farm Chemicals

Water, Hard Work, and Farm Chemicals

The Moral Economy of Cancer

(p.91) Chapter 3 Water, Hard Work, and Farm Chemicals
Fighting for Breath

Anna Lora-Wainwright

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the relationship between cancer etiology and morality. It considers how Langzhong villagers tried to make sense of the reasons for the prevalence of cancer and why it affects particular individuals. While it focuses on the link between cancer and farm chemicals, the chapter also raises broader questions surrounding rising forms of “biosociality”—the ways in which citizens engage with the local state, the market-oriented economy, and the type of development it entails. In addition, it asks why water pollution, believed to be a cause of cancer by some, did not appeal to Langzhong villagers as a productive or cohesive cause of cancer. It argues that the emphasis instead on hard work, farm chemicals, and contaminated food made more sense to villagers because they situated cancer sufferers within the local moral economy. Overall, the chapter demonstrates how disputes about cancer etiologies and attitudes toward farm chemicals articulate diverse sociologies and “geographies of blame.”

Keywords:   cancer, morality, farm chemicals, biosociality, water pollution, hard work, contaminated food, cancer sufferers, moral economy, cancer etiologies

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