Epidemiology

Download e-book for iPad: Aids Rhetoric and Medical Knowledge by Alex Preda

By Alex Preda

ISBN-10: 051108045X

ISBN-13: 9780511080456

ISBN-10: 0521837707

ISBN-13: 9780521837705

Analyzing the formation of medical wisdom concerning the AIDS epidemic within the Nineteen Eighties, Alex Preda highlights the metaphors, narratives, and classifications which framed clinical hypotheses concerning the nature of the infectious agent and its transmission. Preda compares those arguments with these utilized in the medical research of SARS. He demonstrates how medical wisdom approximately epidemics is formed through cultural narratives and different types of social proposal via a close assessment of biomedical guides.

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In the tradition of Ferdinand de Saussure (1959 [1916], p. 24), who privileged oral speech over written language, Austin (and many of his followers) focused his analysis on spoken utterances. However, there was never an explicit argument that written utterances cannot be analyzed as speech acts; in fact, we encounter many examples of written speech acts (such as wills, decrees, and contracts) in everyday life. John Searle (1970, p. ” Searle (1979, pp. 12–16) distinguishes five types of illocutionary acts: assertives, directives, commissives, expressives, and declarations.

26 AIDS, Rhetoric, and Medical Knowledge Other unexplained issues are why risk groups such as “Haitians” were maintained as a medical AIDS category for so long, although this was obviously absurd; and why groups such as women and infants, in spite of being reported on very early, were acknowledged as being at risk only later. The same questions apply for the “Africans,” a category that survived “Haitians” in the statistics, although both were ethnically defined. These developments have been explained in terms of a racist bias in the medical knowledge (Chirimuuta and Chirimuuta 1989) or different medical beliefs about the relationships between ethnic groups and homosexuality.

It may well be that there were some medical papers arguing that semen carrying HIV is deposited in prostitutes’ vaginas like sediments, but the problem is: what difference does that make with respect to local medical practices? Does this influence the practice of the clinician; are these discourses disseminated in the broader medical world; do they have consequences? Because if they do not, we are again left with a flat world of texts having little to do with the real world. This possible objection contains several aspects: the first pertains to the audience of medical papers.

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Aids Rhetoric and Medical Knowledge by Alex Preda


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