The London School of Economics: Breathtaking

Review of Breathtaking by Alison Kenner

People around the world are struggling to breathe. How do we care for asthma across environments that are increasingly unbreathable?

Asthma is a chronic disease that has no cure. It can only be managed over the lifetime of an individual through medication, behavioural interventions and environment controls. Climate change is leading to rising levels of air pollution, seasonal allergies, wildfires and other extreme events, intensifying incidences of asthma. Are we prepared for this growing global epidemic?  In Breathtaking, Alison Kenner uses a multi-sited ethnography to trace the contours of asthma – a disease with such heterogeneous symptoms and triggers that the medical community has considered abandoning the catchall term ‘asthma’  altogether – by examining the myriad infrastructures and material practices of care in the United States that mediate the relationship between disordered breathing and the environment.


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