Communities of Fate: Blood Donors, Exchange Relations & Public Health Practices in China
Presented by Professor Kathleen Erwin.
The AIDS crisis predicated on contaminated blood donations in rural China in the 1990s not only had devastating implications for HIV transmission among the rural poor, it also reverberated throughout China and internationally, fixing attention on blood procurement practices and the role of states, public health systems, and even individuals, for ensuring safe blood supplies. Blood donation practices sit at the nexus of individual, familial, cultural, state and even international systems of procurement and exchange. Based on ethnographic research in Shanghai and engaging debates in medical anthropology, bioethics, and Chinese studies, this paper explores the ways in which the blood donation practices in China today are both embedded in and transformative of exchange relations in multiple and overlapping contexts of donors, their families, co-workers, state and public health entities, and even broader transnational publics.