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Impure Science: AIDS, Activism, and the Politics of Knowledge (Medicine and Society)

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520214453
ISBN-10: 0520214455
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  • Impure Science: AIDS, Activism, and the Politics of Knowledge (Medicine and Society)
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  • Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts, 2nd Edition
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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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.
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Product Details

  • Series: Medicine and Society (Book 7)
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (January 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520214455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520214453
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This book is a must-read for anyone working on infectious disease pandemics. But it is also an important read for activists who are beginning to understand the workings of complex adaptive systems. The author does a wonderful job of gathering information from the many fronts on which activists, scientists, docs, government regulators, and the infected frantically worked in the United States to stem the rising tide of death from AIDS.
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very happy with the price and the transaction was easy.The book had all pages intact and had no markings.
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