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Infectious Processes : Knowledge, Discourse, and the Politics of Prions - Eve Seguin

Infectious Processes

Knowledge, Discourse, and the Politics of Prions

By: Eve Seguin (Editor), John V. Pickstone (Editor)

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In recent years a number of scholars have analyzed the management of BSE, also known as 'mad cow disease'. The BSE crisis is regarded by many as an example of the failure of officials and politicians to handle risk situations. Yet, BSE is also characterized by a unique trait, that is, the infectious agent that causes it. Thus far, no one has paid attention to the fact that BSE and other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are allegedly caused by a novel agent a prion distinct from all other known infectious agents such as bacteria and viruses. The prion hypothesis was introduced by the American scientist Stanley Prusiner in 1982. It immediately created a controversy among scientists and is still rejected by some. Yet, despite this lack of consensus in the scientific community, Prusiner was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1997. This book analyzes the introduction, reception, development and consequences of the prion hypothesis. It shows that BSE is a unique case not only in virtue of its political mismanagement but also because its infectious agent has created a form of revolution in biology. H. ANDERSEN Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen, Denmark B. CHAMAK Researcher and Writer K. DRESSEL Scientific Secretary, German TSE Research Platform, University of Munich, Germany E. FRANCOEUR Lecturer, cole de Technologie Superiere de Montreal, Canada M. J. POULSEN Research Adviser, Health Care Sector, Frederiksborg County, Denmark K. KIM Research Fellow, Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, University College, London, UK C. REEVES Associate Professor of English, Butler University, Indianapolis, USA J. SEGAL Assistant Professor, Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maitres, Paris, France

Introduction
Knowledge
The Early History of the Protein-Only Hypothesis
Scientific Change and Multidisciplinary Research
Styles of Scientific Practice and the Prion Controversy
Paradigm Change? Explaining the Nature of the TSE Agent in Germany
Discourse
An Orthodox Heresy: Scientific Rhetoric and the Science of Prions
Visualizing Prions, Graphic Representations and the Biography of Prions
Politics
Prion Research and the Public Sphere in France
The UK BSE Crisis and the Prion Discursive Chain in Scientific Literature
Conclusion: The Prion Case
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781403932235
ISBN-10: 1403932239
Series: Science, Technology and Medicine in Modern History
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 191
Published: 1st November 2004
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 14.0  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.38
Edition Number: 1