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Local bacteria, transnational laboratory: The politics of cholera research in Bangladesh

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
This work explores ways in which a situation of endemic cholera, the emergence of humanitarian science and the marginality of nation-state are mutually constitutive in Bangladesh. Reconstructing parallel histories of pain and suffering of a cholera stricken population and humanitarian science, I have argued that violence and vivisection is endemic to this co-construction process. I examine the paradoxes of humanitarianism and contradictions of public health policies at length, looking particularly the promotion of bacteriologically safe water and its consequences. I suggest that the structural condition under which a cholera epidemic becomes a manageable health problem itself inflicts an unmanageable health problem ­ the arsenic disaster. In Bangladesh, the declining of child mortality due to diarrhoea coincides with a biosocial situation in which incidences of arsenicosis alarmingly increases. I have shown here that scientific discovery happen in the postcolonial context at the cost of creating new forms of social suffering.
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