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Photo Essays

Vol 6 No 1 (2019)

SICK: The deadly logic of the limited good

  • Emily Yates-Doerr
July 2, 2019
April 17, 2019


In the 1960s George Foster, a founding figure in medical anthropology, theorized that Indigenous communities adhered to the ‘Image of the Limited Good.” Accordingly, good things in life were limited, with the effect that one person’s good came at a cost to another. This photo essay challenges the Image of the Limited Good. I suggest that the people who spread this idea are not Indigenous but upper class and White politicians who deploy the idea of limits to bolster their racist agendas. I juxtapose the deaths of Indigenous children at the US border with the kindness my children encountered in Guatemala to illustrate how experiences are structured by racism, not limits. The essay concludes by asking what we can learn from Indigenous parents about how to replace the Image of the Limited Good with an Image of Abundance.

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