It is even tempting to regard food allergy as the signature disease of modernity. If so, a return to pure, clean living — avoiding pollution, pesticides, the hustle and bustle of modern life — would seem to be the solution.
The purity politics of the allergic home is a politics conjured up by the subtleties of material interdependencies between human bodies and the foods they consume to nurture them but fully realized with the help of hoary histories of gendered and racialized work.
The reproduction of gender in food allergic households isn’t about false consciousness. But the priorities of social life at the household level doesn’t scale perfectly onto priorities for gender equality in American society.
How does raising food allergic children reproduce and intensify gendered divisions of labor in the home?
I’m pleased to announce that my peer-reviewed scholarly article, titled “The Moral Life of Epinephrine in the United States,” has now been published on the open-access medical anthropology journal, Medicine Anthropology Theory!
Listening to my early research interviews can be fun. It can also be embarrassing.
For example, one question I asked in early interviews was: “What’s the treatment for food allergies?”
Now, I know that I should have asked, what medications do you use to manage food allergies? That’s what I was interested in: learning about what pills, injections, and other medical products people use to maintain their health while living with food allergies.
In communities where deadly infectious childhood diseases have largely retreated, food allergies have taken their place as a medico-moral cause célèbre for mothers, medical workers, and medical researchers seeking ensure the safety of innocent children. Their mysterious etiology – a combination of environmental exposure, heredity, and individual biology – unpredictable development, apparently sudden increase, and potentially deadly effects make them a source of fear for parents worldwide.