Latin American Studies ETDs

Author

Sarah Leister

Publication Date

7-1-2015

Abstract

Sugarcane workers in northwestern Nicaragua are suffering from chronic kidney disease of non-traditional causes (CKDnt) at extremely high rates. In the small town of Chichigalpa alone, CKDnt causes 46% of male deaths (Kurzrok et al. 2013). This paper examines the CKD epidemic as a fundamentally structural problem, not merely a biological abnormality, because it is closely linked to labor exploitation, poverty, human rights violations, and historical context. Grounded in literature from medical anthropology and medical sociology and based on two months of ethnographic field research in northwestern Nicaragua, it analyzes how knowledge production interacts with scientific uncertainty about CKDs specific biomedical causes. It posits that scientific knowledge does not close controversy, but rather proliferates uncertainties, thereby forestalling the potential for rights claims. A strictly scientific understanding of CKD diffuses responsibility for addressing its structural causes, distracts from structural violence, and diverts attention away from the urgency of CKD deaths.

Project Sponsors

UNM Latin American and Iberian Institute, UNM Office of Graduate Studies

Language

English

Keywords

kidney disease, sugarcane, structural violence, labor, Nicaragua, Central America, medical anthropology, knowledge

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Latin American Studies

Level of Degree

Masters

Department Name

Latin American Studies

First Advisor

Smith, Lindsay

First Committee Member (Chair)

Whooley, Owen

Second Committee Member

Field, Les

Comments

Submitted by Sarah Leister (leisters@unm.edu) on 2015-07-14T22:57:50Z No. of bitstreams: 1 Leister Thesis Final.pdf: 736455 bytes, checksum: b7920442d6555d88e6efa5c92d428492 (MD5), Approved for entry into archive by Doug Weintraub (dwein@unm.edu) on 2015-09-01T16:06:48Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 Leister Thesis Final.pdf: 736455 bytes, checksum: b7920442d6555d88e6efa5c92d428492 (MD5), Made available in DSpace on 2015-09-01T16:06:48Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 Leister Thesis Final.pdf: 736455 bytes, checksum: b7920442d6555d88e6efa5c92d428492 (MD5)

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