By Alex Preda
Analyzing the formation of medical wisdom concerning the AIDS epidemic within the 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 by means of cultural narratives and different types of social idea via a close assessment of biomedical courses.
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Additional info for Aids Rhetoric and Medical Knowledge
Readers ﬁlter through their own intentionality what texts have to offer; they interpret, select, adapt, reject, and provide texts with new meanings. In short, reading implies a set of operations on texts which the latter cannot control; otherwise, it would mean that from the outset a text already contains all its readers’ intentions and therefore all possible interpretations. Such a state contradicts the conditions of possibility of a text. As there is no reason to believe that medical practitioners are not readers in this sense, it follows that medical texts as such have less sociological relevance than the process of reading.
On the one hand, they are intrinsic to producing this content as written knowledge (and therefore as quintessentially scientiﬁc). On the other hand, they operate by selecting what is expressed (and expressible) scientiﬁc knowledge and what is not. , Prelli 1989; Gross 1999; Pera 1994; Berkenkotter and Huckin 1995; Fahnestock 1999; Halliday and Martin 1993; Maasen and Weingart 2000; Swales 1990; Urban and Silverstein 1996). Because these elements are intrinsic to making knowledge public and thereby legitimizing it, they show the historical and social boundaries within which scientiﬁc knowledge can be (re)produced.
It is thus argued that a behavior-oriented concept of risk does not lead to the stigmatization of social groups or lifestyles and that it enables a more direct and person-centered prevention approach, as well as better epidemiological estimates. A closer look at the way historians of medicine talk about “AIDS risk” reveals that they identify (1) a conceptual break and (2) a scientiﬁc advance in the transition from a group-oriented to a behavior-oriented concept, made possible by previous advances in identifying the nature of the infectious agent and its modes of transmission.
Aids Rhetoric and Medical Knowledge by Alex Preda