Failing kidneys: Hotspots, blind spots and biopolitics of indifference


Chronic kidney disease of non‐traditional cause (CKDnt) is commonly associated with monocropping agriculture, heat stress and impoverished working conditions, referred to as CKDnt “hotspots.” The condition is also emerging in various sites of environmental contamination, raising questions as to whether multiple variants of the condition exist as a result of different ecologies and different human‐environment interactions. This paper examines the emergence of CKDnt around Lake Chapala in Mexico, where we document local efforts to gain recognition and reparation for CKDnt. We follow the ways patients, families and activists have mobilized specific and interlocking infrastructural failures to enact complaint and confront state inaction and neglect of their bodies, communities, and environments. Though their labors have formally achieved little, we discuss how they make visible a biopolitics of indifference, one bound to the production of structural “blindspots.”