Impure Science: AIDS, Activism, and the Politics of Knowledge Paperback – Sep 15 1998
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From Library Journal
Epstein (sociology, Univ. of California, San Diego) provides an exhaustive analysis of how credibility is established within the field of science. He shows how a group of laypersons gained credibility within the system and what effects their "lay expertise" had on the scientific process, in particular, the effort to treat AIDS. In the first section, he discusses the origin of AIDS, showing how HIV came to be accepted as the cause of AIDS and how that theory was challenged by some renowned scientists. In the second section, Epstein offers a particularly fascinating examination of the development of "expertise" among AIDS treatment activists, who eventually played a significant role in changing the methodology of clinical drug trials. This volume, based on the author's award-winning dissertation, is highly recommended for academic and health science collections of public libraries.?Tina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A well-trained physician can diagnose AIDS as a disease, but sociologist Epstein does more. He diagnoses AIDS as a political and cultural event requiring us to rethink the place of medical science within society. He shows that since its deadly appearance in the 1980s, AIDS has let loose forces subversive to the status quo. Because it has claimed so many homosexual victims, AIDS has galvanized gay activists determined to overcome the indifference and even hostility of the medical and research bureaucracy. Many others--including hemophiliacs and women's groups--have joined in the fight for a place in the professional councils discussing what causes AIDS, what available treatments should be researched, and what possible cures should be researched. These debates have made medicine and research more democratic than ever before. But they have also forced activists, public officials, and doctors to confront vexing questions about the limits of politics and the prerogatives of expertise. Nowhere else will readers find a more carefully documented chronicle of how AIDS has brought these questions to the fore. Bryce Christensen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
From the point at which the sentinal systems were picking up the emergence of this new disease, to the race against the clock for treatments and scientific understanding, the book covers the many policy and practical arenas in which people fought for themselves and their loved ones to beat death from this virulent, frightening infectious agent. It talks about scientific authority and de-mystifies the scientific enterprise while wondering whether this reduces the authority of science...but does not propose a solution to this dilemma. A terrific ethnography for students and for social activists of a time of great emergency, it is sure to stimulate much discussion. Sincere, careful, respectful of all players in this drama, the book teaches us about the social interactions required to handle such horrible emergencies.
Someone needs to look the same way at the AIDS syndemic in Africa. It is too bad that the folks who were looking at healthcare reform did not have this author's insightful study to help them get us ready for the next pandemic. Because, have no doubt, there WILL be one.
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