Among those deeply impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic were people suffering from chronic illnesses, like silicosis, a respiratory disease. In this essay, Başak Can, Zeynel Gül and Arda Yalçın examine how workers in Turkey suffering from silicosis navigate the hurdles created by the pandemic, including being unable to access routine medical care and job precarity. However, the authors found these workers used self-care practices and mobilized their networks to survive the pandemic the best they could.
Başak Can holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and is an assistant professor of sociology at Koç University. She is a medical anthropologist with an interest in the intersections of human rights, political violence, forensics, politics of care and body. She is currently working on her book Forensic Fantasies: Doctors, Documents and the Limits of Truth in Turkey. She has previously undertaken research on gendered work relations, care work, reproductive health, forensic documentation of torture, and triaging of care among dialysis patients in Turkey. Her research has appeared in journals such as American Anthropologist, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness, New Perspectives in Turkey, Reproductive Health Matters, Communication, Culture & Critique and Media, Culture & Society. She secured research grants and fellowships from institutions such as Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Blickwechsel: Contemporary Turkey Studies at Humboldt University of Berlin, Wenner-Gren Foundation.