Download Contagion: Historical and Cultural Studies (Studies in the by Alison Bashford, Claire Hooker PDF

By Alison Bashford, Claire Hooker

Within the age of HIV, antibiotic-resistant micro organism, the Ebola Virus and BSE, metaphors and event of contagion are a important difficulty of presidency, biomedicine and well known culture.Contagion explores cultural responses of infectious ailments and their biomedical administration over the 19th and 20th centuries. It additionally investigates using 'contagion' as an idea in postmodern reconceptualisations of embodied subjectivity.The essays are written from in the fields of cultural stories, biomedical historical past and significant sociology. The participants learn the geographies, regulations and identities that have been produced within the titanic social attempt to include ailments. They discover either social responses to infectious ailments some time past, and modern theoretical and biomedical websites for the examine of contagion.

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Causes could act singly or in concert in any given instance of disease. This traditional, inclusive form of analysis was often used tacitly or imperfectly, but was remarkably persistent. It helps to explain why in historical terms contagion and miasm have been more readily seen by theorists as alternative or complementary, rather than contradictory, factors in disease. The notion of contagion also involved the question of how properties or qualities were transferred or propagated at the level of the ultimate constituents of matter.

This is however too narrow: it is more accurate to see contagion as reflecting the relationship between things in the world, as well as the influence upon the human being of factors in close and remote spheres of his/her environment. In analysing humanity’s situation the classical period adopted a structure of causation which was elaborated in subsequent periods, and which continues to be relevant, although often going unrecognised. The history of the concept of contagion cannot be understood without reference to this traditional multifactorial structure of natural and supernatural causation.

4 It laid stress on the importance of instrumentation, especially microscopy. 5 However there were also many problems. 6 A second was that the status of the contributions of the early pioneers proved difficult to determine from the positivist point of view. Most importantly, detailed analysis tended to show that even ‘germ theorists’ used the concepts of contagion, infection and miasm as if they were difficult to distinguish, overlapping, or even interchangeable. If there is a single explanation for these difficulties, it lies in the need for precise definition according to historical context.

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