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Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the…
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Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative (a John Hope… (udgave 2008)

af Priscilla Wald (Forfatter)

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How should we understand the fear and fascination elicited by the accounts of communicable disease outbreaks that proliferated, following the emergence of HIV, in scientific publications and the mainstream media? The repetition of particular characters, images, and story lines--of Patients Zero and superspreaders, hot zones and tenacious microbes--produced a formulaic narrative as they circulated through the media and were amplified in popular fiction and film. The "outbreak narrative" begins with the identification of an emerging infection, follows it through the global networks of contact and contagion, and ends with the epidemiological work that contains it. Priscilla Wald argues that we need to understand the appeal and persistence of the outbreak narrative because the stories we tell about disease emergence have consequences. As they disseminate information, they affect survival rates and contagion routes. They upset economies. They promote or mitigate the stigmatizing of individuals, groups, locales, behaviors, and lifestyles. Wald traces how changing ideas about disease emergence and social interaction coalesced in the outbreak narrative. She returns to the early years of microbiology--to the identification of microbes and "Typhoid Mary," the first known healthy human carrier of typhoid in the United States--to highlight the intertwined production of sociological theories of group formation ("social contagion") and medical theories of bacteriological infection at the turn of the twentieth century. Following the evolution of these ideas, Wald shows how they were affected by--or reflected in--the advent of virology, Cold War ideas about "alien" infiltration, science-fiction stories of brainwashing and body snatchers, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Contagious is a cautionary tale about how the stories we tell circumscribe our thinking about global health and human interactions as the world imagines--or refuses to imagine--the next Great Plague.… (mere)
Medlem:tarantula7
Titel:Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative (a John Hope Franklin Center Book)
Forfattere:Priscilla Wald (Forfatter)
Info:Duke University Press Books (2008), Edition: 1, 392 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
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Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative (a John Hope Franklin Center Book) af Priscilla Wald

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Wald's examination of outbreak narratives is a fascinating journey through discussions of contagious disease, history, media, pop culture, and scientific developments. Throughout the work, the evolution of what is now recognizable as an outbreak narrative comes clearly into focus. One of the most powerful aspects of the work rests in the fact that Wald uncovers various feedback loops in the ways in which we understand and document disease. How film and literature have influenced our understanding and documentation of actual disease, and the way we write about it...how historical experiences with diseases and contagions have influenced the ways in which we now move forward with both research and documentation...how the language we use to document disease has been influenced by pop culture and subsequently influences political and research decisions...how a movie like Body Snatchers reflects and reinforces the (wrong) way we so often analyze and attempt an understanding of disease.

The outbreak narrative, as a form of narrative, is part fact and part fiction, but it has very real consequences in today's society. Wald's work attempts to trace the evolution of this narrative, delving into pop culture, history, film studies, politics, media and journalism, and scientific developments in order to not only follow the convoluted feedback loop created by different narratives related to contagions, but to analyze the various ways (good and bad) that these narratives have influenced, in turn, politics, science, and popular understanding of disease.

For a carefully researched work of nonfiction, Wald's work is incredibly readable, and her endnotes are perfectly balanced--what's there is useful and interesting, but also somewhat tangential...just what belongs in an endnote (as so often seems to Not be the case when it comes to workse like this). Her writing is also clear and detailed, and a useful analysis in the ways science and technology have influenced societal perception, and vice versa.

Overall, absolutely recommended for anyone interested in the subject of contagions or in the ways in which popular narratives have influenced political and scientific developments, or in the ways in which film and literature, as a group of texts, reinforce or influence popular understandings (or misunderstandings) and media. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Jan 14, 2014 |
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How should we understand the fear and fascination elicited by the accounts of communicable disease outbreaks that proliferated, following the emergence of HIV, in scientific publications and the mainstream media? The repetition of particular characters, images, and story lines--of Patients Zero and superspreaders, hot zones and tenacious microbes--produced a formulaic narrative as they circulated through the media and were amplified in popular fiction and film. The "outbreak narrative" begins with the identification of an emerging infection, follows it through the global networks of contact and contagion, and ends with the epidemiological work that contains it. Priscilla Wald argues that we need to understand the appeal and persistence of the outbreak narrative because the stories we tell about disease emergence have consequences. As they disseminate information, they affect survival rates and contagion routes. They upset economies. They promote or mitigate the stigmatizing of individuals, groups, locales, behaviors, and lifestyles. Wald traces how changing ideas about disease emergence and social interaction coalesced in the outbreak narrative. She returns to the early years of microbiology--to the identification of microbes and "Typhoid Mary," the first known healthy human carrier of typhoid in the United States--to highlight the intertwined production of sociological theories of group formation ("social contagion") and medical theories of bacteriological infection at the turn of the twentieth century. Following the evolution of these ideas, Wald shows how they were affected by--or reflected in--the advent of virology, Cold War ideas about "alien" infiltration, science-fiction stories of brainwashing and body snatchers, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Contagious is a cautionary tale about how the stories we tell circumscribe our thinking about global health and human interactions as the world imagines--or refuses to imagine--the next Great Plague.

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2 udgaver af dette værk er udgivet af Duke University Press.

Udgaver: 082234128X, 0822341530

 

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