The Institut Catala d’Antropologia is calling for papers for a special edition – “Bodies at Risk” – for the journal Quaderns-e.
The evolution of today’s society, as a whole, has been characterized by the steady increase in threats to the environment and to people, to the point of being characterized as a “risk society”. Marked by excessive activity in the manipulation of nature in the name of progress, the social construction of risk has focused mainly on the phenomena of altered environment, climate change and pollution. But increasingly the human body is at the centre of the production of social and scientific discourse about risk and pollution. Along with the discussion on the environment, biomedical scientific discourse is becoming the main generator of symbols of risk classification and new human diseases.
“Embodied risk” is one of these categories. It refers to the corporal risk of people being diagnosed as “at risk”. These people are more exposed to the risk of developing a disease in the future, needing constant medical supervision, worrying more to seek instruments to understand their situation through scientific and social discourse.
“Toxic corporality” is a new class that derives from “embodied risk” concerning the experience of producing sense and meaning of the toxicity and pollution which endangers health. It is a new social perception of pollution as something that gets embedded in the body and permeates it with toxics coming from air, water and food. Human contamination is the result of the coexistence of several factors: increased agricultural and industrial production, the development of industry and consumption, the accumulation and the greater volume of waste disposal, transportation patterns and energy consumption. This embodiment of risk is a result of an increase in synthetic chemistry intervention in our habits of consumption and production of food, cosmetics, and cleaning products, etc., that endanger our health.
This edition of E-Journals is a call for an analysis of this emerging reality: the “toxic embodiment” as an experience related to the production of meaning and symbols around the body’s toxicity and pollution in everyday life.