Breathing in the Anthropocene: Air Pollution, Teleological Thinking and Parallel Narratives
This PhD project provides an ethnographic account of people living and breathing in Beijing.
PhD Fellow Hans Henrik Moe
China's rapid economic growth over several decades has caused environmental degradation of soil, water and air. In Beijing, residents routinely breath an air containing fine particulate matter far exceeding the levels considered safe by the World Health Organization.
This project explores understandings, experiences and coping strategies through everyday encounters with air pollution. It argues that the meanings of these encounters are informed by discourses of historical necessity and developmentalist ideology. It further argues that the continuation of everyday life is enabled by the construction of parallel narratives through which the knowledges of pollution related health risks in the abstract become negligible at the particular level of the lived experience of the individual.