Download Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative by Priscilla Wald PDF
By Priscilla Wald
Wald strains how altering principles approximately illness emergence and social interplay coalesced within the outbreak narrative. She returns to the early years of microbiology—to the identity of microbes and “Typhoid Mary,” the 1st recognized fit human service of typhoid within the United States—to spotlight the intertwined creation of sociological theories of team formation (“social contagion”) and scientific theories of bacteriological an infection on the flip of the 20th century. Following the evolution of those rules, Wald exhibits how they have been affected by—or mirrored in—the creation of virology, chilly conflict rules approximately “alien” infiltration, science-fiction tales of brainwashing and physique snatchers, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Contagious is a cautionary story approximately how the tales we inform circumscribe our wondering international healthiness and human interactions because the global imagines—or refuses to imagine—the subsequent nice Plague.
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Additional info for Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative
It is the shadow tale that comprises the drama of the spread and containment of communicable disease. ∑∑ ‘‘It was hard to believe unreservedly in contagion,’’ writes Smith, ‘‘when A was sick while B, at his elbow, stayed well, but C, at B’s elbow, fell sick of A’s disease; men turned naturally enough to the air and stars to explain how infection fell upon both A and C’’ (130). So the discoveries of bacteriology that allowed scientists to identify and explain the healthy carrier turned superstition to science.
It makes visible the nature of those exchanges that are often concealed; communicable disease offers records of desire, of violence, of sexual commerce, all of which are especially apparent in sexually transmitted diseases. The outbreak narrative incorporates those records as it fashions the story of disease emergence. The opening scene of Outbreak features the geography of disease emergence and the visual expression of scientiﬁc expertise. ≤∂ The landscape depicted in this shot was already disturbingly familiar from the science and science journalism.
When done with attention to narrative detail and to the rhythms by which stories unfold, epidemiological accounts can harness the appeal of detective stories. Such accounts were conspicuously fashioned with that appeal in mind by journalists and scientists in the years following World War II. Both groups saw in epidemiology the chance to tell a good story, and in those stories, the opportunity to promote an important ﬁeld of inquiry. Paul de Kruif had demonstrated the market for tales of scientiﬁc discovery in his bestselling 1926 book, Microbe Hunters.