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Therapeutic RevolutionsPharmaceuticals and Social Change in the Twentieth Century$
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Jeremy A. Greene, Flurin Condrau, and Elizabeth Siegel Watkins

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226390734

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226390901.001.0001

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Futures and Their Uses: Antibiotics and Therapeutic Revolutions

Futures and Their Uses: Antibiotics and Therapeutic Revolutions

(p.18) One Futures and Their Uses: Antibiotics and Therapeutic Revolutions
Therapeutic Revolutions

Scott H. Podolsky

Anne Kveim Lie

University of Chicago Press

Fears of a post-antibiotic future date back to the very beginning of the antibiotic era. This chapter asks: what can we learn from the history of such expectations? The revolutions claimed in the name of antibiotics and the crises envisioned regarding their usage and enduring utility provide instructive analytical lenses for understanding the history of expectations in science and medicine. The authors begin with a review of the major transformation in medicine ushered in by the advent of the antimicrobial wonder drugs and an examination of the futures claimed in their name. They then proceed to examine two intersecting strands of therapeutic reform (the first beginning in the 1950s, the second not fully taking off until the 1980s) justified by alternate antibiotic dystopias, before proceeding to more general reflections on antibiotics and therapeutic futures, past and present.

Keywords:   history of medicine, antibiotics, therapeutic revolutions, history of the future, sociology of expectations, twentieth century history

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