Chapter

The White Noise of Health

David B. Morris

in Illness and Culture in the Postmodern Age

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 1998 | ISBN: 9780520208698
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520926240 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520208698.003.0004
The White Noise of Health

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On 26 April 1986, in the Ukrainian town of Chernobyl, reactor number four in an aging and poorly designed nuclear power plant blew up. Fire in the graphite moderators produced radioactive gases and aerosols that over the next ten days contaminated thirty-five hundred square miles. Illness today is often environmental illness. In recognizing the connections between illness and the environment reshaped by human enterprise, people can begin to recover something of the biocultural heritage that modernist medicine has mostly rejected or ignored in pursuing a science focused on the interior of the body. Medicine is still slow to recognize and to address the complicated environmental sources of contemporary illness. The wider, even global contexts of environmental damage and its links to public health have not found a place within biomedical curricula that focus attention on internal organs and on bodily systems.

Keywords: Chernobyl; medical writing; environmental illness; human body; environmental damage

Chapter.  9594 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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