Translating Proof: Contested Illness, Radiation Exposure, and the Health Claims of Nuclear Test Veterans
How are biological facts about bodily suffering made legally legible in injury and compensation cases? What makes some claims persuasive and efficacious, and why might some fail? Drawing on research in New Zealand and the UK with military veterans of British nuclear tests, this chapter follows test veterans into various social arenas to explore the politics of proof-making. I track the shifting shape of knowledge, from embodied experiences of illness, epidemiological studies and genetic research, to legal contests about culpability in the British Supreme Court. I argue that the task of making various forms of proof count, medically, legally, and politically, depends on how effectively different types of proof can translate within and across varied domains of knowledge. This reveals the diverse and often contradicting logics that govern different systems of contemporary expert knowledge, and the ease or difficulty claimants experience navigating between them.
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