Dwaipayan BanerjeeNov 24, 2020
Life, Death, and Diagnosis in Delhi
Duke University Press 2020
In Enduring Cancer: Life, Death, and Diagnosis in Delhi (Duke UP, 2020), Dwaipayan Banerjee explores the efforts of Delhi's urban poor to create a livable life with cancer as patients and families negotiate an overextended health system unequipped to respond to the disease. Owing to long wait times, most urban poor cancer patients do not receive a diagnosis until it is too late to treat the disease effectively. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in the city's largest cancer care NGO and at India's premier public health hospital, Banerjee describes how, for these patients, a cancer diagnosis is often the latest and most serious in a long series of infrastructural failures. In the wake of these failures, Banerjee tracks how the disease then distributes itself across networks of social relations, testing these networks for strength and vulnerability. Banerjee demonstrates how living with and alongside cancer is to be newly awakened to the fragility of social ties, some already made brittle by past histories, and others that are retested for their capacity to support.
Sneha Annavarapu is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago.