Monographic Section

Narrating and remembering as practices of care, community, and commitment in asbestos contaminated contexts


In contexts of social and environmental disasters, practices of memory and narration can become actions implemented by the affected groups to cope with the suffering related to the disaster experience, to mobilise in the name of social justice, and to favour those dynamics by which the survivors develop their sense of being part of a community. This article is based on qualitative data collected through an anthropological study based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Italy and Brazil. It discusses the practices by which the survivors of the impact of asbestos-related disaster on their lives make sense of their suffering experience and engage in a grassroots health-based movement. Attention is paid on the social aspects of the health impact of asbestos exposure, and the role of the affected communities in the elaboration of their own paths of care by remembering and communicating the disaster is considered.


Asbestos, grassroots activism, health hazards, ethnography

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