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Bugs in the Blog: immunitary moralism in Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR)

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JournalSocial Theory and Health
Journal publication date25 Apr 2017
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)1-21
Early online date25/04/17
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper examines social theoretical literatures on immunity in the context of contemporary biopolitical debates about antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). An exploration of contributions to the online forum ‘Mumsnet’ about antibiotic use and AMR serves as an empirical anchorage to these literatures. Five themes emerge from these data: ‘temporal constraints and technological fixes’; ‘restorative bodies’; ‘spatial othering’; ‘moral accountabilities’ and ‘domestic immunitary environments’. We offer the concept ‘immunitary moralism’ to capture the way antibiotics prompt moral reflection on immunity, biopolitical citizenship, bodily integrity and communal probity. We reveal how the moral politics of blame and immunitary othering are present in online debates about AMR, and explore the way these registers resonate with writings in biopolitical philosophy on the ascendency of immunitary individualism and tensions between community and immunity (communitas and immunitas).

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

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