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Biomedicalization and the Practice of CultureGlobalization and Type 2 Diabetes in the United States and Japan$
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Mari Armstrong-Hough

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469646688

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469646688.001.0001

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Our Genes Don’t Match Your Culture

Our Genes Don’t Match Your Culture

Japanese Narratives about the Origins of Type 2 Diabetes

(p.51) Chapter Three Our Genes Don’t Match Your Culture
Biomedicalization and the Practice of Culture

Mari Armstrong-Hough

University of North Carolina Press

Chapter 3 relies on data from in-depth interviews with clinicians and members of the general public, participant observation, and a review of Japanese popular intellectual literature to examine narratives about the origins of diabetes in Japan. It argues that the most pervasive Japanese narratives emphasize the particularity of diabetes risk to Japanese bodies. This narrative implies that illness arises from a disconnect between Japanese bodies and non-Japanese food culture. The road to health is a return to an imagined traditional Japanese lifestyle that has been lost to globalization and westernization. Rather than stressing individual responsibility and temptation, dominant Japanese narratives stress a shared struggle against outside forces.

Keywords:   Narratives, Popular health literature, Risk, Globalization, Food culture, Primordial past, Nihonjinron

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