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Interventions

Vol 6 No 2 (2019)

Ethnography in a grievance: Documentary mechanisms in Nicaragua’s chronic kidney disease epidemic

  • Alex Nading
DOI
https://doi.org/10.17157/mat.6.2.631
Submitted
June 6, 2018
Published
May 14, 2019

Abstract

This essay discusses documentation as a critical practice that links ethnography and activism. It describes the efforts of Nicaraguan sugarcane workers to use World Bank mediation and corporate social responsibility ‘mechanisms’ to call attention to the health and environmental problems that attend plantation production. Documentation becomes essential to activism when the lines of cause and effect that link bodily conditions to ecological conditions are unclear or contested. As a form of evidence-making that blends the archival and the ethnographic, documentation helps not to isolate facts but to construct context.