In the haze: on narrativization and air pollution in Shanghai

Journal article


Cockain, A. 2020. In the haze: on narrativization and air pollution in Shanghai. Positions: Asia Critique. 28 (2), pp. 447-479. https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-8112503
AuthorsCockain, A.
Abstract

This article explores psychic experiences of air pollution and the ways these experiences have become narrated in various texts, especially but not exclusively those responding to one weekend in December 2013 when Shanghai purportedly experienced the highest levels of fine-particle, or PM2.5, pollution on record. This paper is also concerned, more generally, with processes associated with attempts to transform the messiness, or figurative haze, of fieldwork into an authoritative written account. These dual concerns—with air pollution and writing—are mutually informing since both seem to translate troubling, and often socially unacceptable, emotions into more presentable and tolerable forms. Through narrativization, namely acts of authorship and inscription, persons implicated in this article attempt to relieve, figuratively write over, or otherwise repress anxieties. While it is understandable, and perhaps even normal, to perpetuate such processes, this article argues we should engage rather than erase them since they not only animate persons and texts but also illuminate efforts to understand human responses to air pollution.

KeywordsChina; Air pollution; Narrativization; Edifying/systematic accounts
Year2020
JournalPositions: Asia Critique
Journal citation28 (2), pp. 447-479
PublisherDuke University Press
ISSN1527-8271
1067-9847
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-8112503
Official URLhttps://read.dukeupress.edu/positions/article-abstract/28/2/447/164787/In-the-HazeOn-Narrativization-and-Air-Pollution-in?redirectedFrom=fulltext
Publication dates
Print01 May 2021
Publication process dates
Deposited11 Oct 2021
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/8z2w8/in-the-haze-on-narrativization-and-air-pollution-in-shanghai

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